Head of partner organisation arbitrarily arrested

Civil Rights Defenders is concerned about the continued harrassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in Russia. Igor Kalyapin, head of our Russian partner organisation Committee Against Torture, along with nearly forty others, were arbitrarily arrested by police officials at a rally for freedom of assembly on March 31, 2011.

Kalyapin was monitoring police compliance with international standards for free assembly at a rally organised by Strategy 31 in Nizhny Novgorod. Since mid-2009, rallies are held on the last day of each month containing a 31th day, as a reference to Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.

While human rights defenders have been able to execute their right to freedom of assembly more freely in Moscow since the replacement of the corrupt and suppresive mayor Luzhkov in September 2010, this has not been the case for the rest of Russia.

– Unhampered execution of the right of assembly has to be ensured by Russian governmental officials to allow for free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections, scheduled for December 2011 and March 2012, respectively. Unfortunately these arrests can be seen as yet another sign of the Russian government’s deconstruction of a potentially pluralistic democratic society says Marie Månson, Programme Director Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Kalyapin was released after having been held for three hours at the police station in Nizhny Novgorod but faces an administrative fine and arrest. The hearing of his case, planned for April 1, has been postponed to an unspecified date.

Categories: News.
Tags: Committee Against Torture, Freedom of assembly, Human Rights Defenders, and Igor Kalyapin.
Regions: Russia.