Great concern regarding continued harrassment of Stepan Popovsky
To the President of the de facto administration of Transnistria, Yevgeny Shevchuk:
Stockholm, 7 March 2013
Dear Mr Yevgeny Shevchuk,
Civil Rights Defenders is seriously concerned about the repeated harassment during the last few months of Stepan Popovsky, in connection to his human rights work. Mr. Popovsky is a private lawyer and chairperson of the Republican Social Movement for the Protection of Property and Social Rights of Peasants.
This morning, Thursday 7 March, Stepan Popovsky was due to meet with Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Afterwards he planned a press conference about violations of the property rights of thousands of landowners in Transnistria. Half an hour before the meeting with Muižnieks, Transnistrian police came to search Popovskys house. As a result, the meeting with the Commissioner for Human Rights could not take place. The search was conducted on the basis of a complaint about alleged theft.
We have strong reasons to believe that the accusations of theft are connected to his work as human rights defender, taking into account the timing of the search, the fact that he has previously been subjected to criminal proceedings in connection to his human rights activities, and that he has been repetitively threatened by Transnistrian region’s law enforcement officers and subjected to a defamatory media campaign.
We therefore urge you to ensure that the accusations against Stepan Popovsky are impartially investigated and that you do your outmost to protect him from future harassment. We also ask you to ensure that all human rights defenders in Transnistria can carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.
Programme Director Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Civil Rights Defenders
Tags: Human Rights Defenders, Stepan Popovsky, and Transnistria.