Stanislav Dmitrievsky, Executive Manager of RCFS and chief editor of the Pravozaschita newspaper, a joint publication by RCFS and the Nizhny Novgorod Society for Human Rights (NNSHR).
On January 11, 2006, Mr. Vladimir Demidov, Prosecutor of the Nizhny Novgorod Region, expressed his firm belief that Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky was going to be found guilty. Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievsky’s lawyers intend to lodge a complaint to the Prosecutor General about the regional prosecutor’s statements in the coming days.
On January 11, 2005, the prosecutor’s office of Nizhny Novgorod Region had initiated a case against Pravozaschita and Mr. Dmitrievsky, as chief editor of the newspaper, following the publication of statements by Messrs. Akhmed Zakaev and Aslan Maskhadov, two Chechen separatist leaders, calling for a peaceful end to the Russian – Chechen conflict. The criminal case was initiated on the grounds of the conclusions made by professor Khokhlysheva, who carried the expertise of the texts on the request from the prosecutor’s office, and according to which “the publications in Pravozaschita can be regarded as serious violations of the Russian Criminal Code and undermining of the Constitutional order”.
On September 2, 2005, Mr. Dmitrievsky was officially charged by the prosecutor’s office in relation to this case under part 1 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation referring to “actions aimed at inciting hatred or hostility and at disparagement of either an individual or a group of people according to their gender, race, nationality, background, religious beliefs as well as belonging to any social group that are committed publicly or through mass media outlets”. This offence is liable to up to five years imprisonment.
The Observatory and RCFS are concerned about this statement, which can be considered as contrary to the Guidelines on the role of Prosecutors adopted by the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Cuba (1999), stating that “in the performance of their duties, prosecutors shall “perform their duties fairly, consistently”, “carry out their function impartially”, and “act with objectivity, take proper account of the position of the suspect and the victim, and pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect”.
The debates before the Sovetsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod concerning Mr. Dmitrievsky’s trial are to start on January 18, 2006.
The Observatory and RCFS recall the Russian Federation authorities’ duty to comply with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December, 9 1998, in particular to article 1.
Letter by Charles B. Davison sent on January 20, 2006