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Europe

Amnesty attacks Russia on shrinking civil rights

© FRANCE 24/Observers

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-04-24

Fundamental rights in Russia have been shrinking since President Vladimir Putin’s return to power a year ago, Amnesty International said in a reported Wednesday, the same day as the trial of a prominent anti-corruption blogger reopened.

One year after Vladimir Putin’s third inauguration as Russia’s president, the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly have come under increasing attack, Amnesty International said in a report released Wednesday.

At least two new laws have been introduced and 11 laws have been amended, including broad provisions that allow for arbitrary interference with the rights to freedom of expression, association, the civil rights organisation wrote.

Over the past year and a half, Russians have massively protested, first against vote-rigging in the December 2011 general election then against Vladimir Putin's return for a controversial third term as president in May 2012.

“The Russian authorities’ response to the protest movement has been almost entirely repressive, (...) placing inappropriate restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association,” the report asserted.

The effects of these initiatives are not limited to the most visible political opponents, civil society organizations and human rights activists: all Russian citizens wishing to raise their voice in protest have seen their rights curtailed, Amnesty claims.

The report, Freedom Under Threat, analyses legislative changes such as a draft “blasphemy law” and the proposed ban on “propaganda of homosexuality” and documents a number of cases in which basic rights have been violated.

The publication of the report coincided with the reopening of the trial of Alexei Navalny, a blogger who rose to prominence for denouncing corruption and was in turn himself accused of embezzlement, in what he claims is a manipulated charge organised by the Kremlin.
 

Date created : 2013-04-24

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