Amnesty International demanded to stop the persecution of single pickets in Russia
The international human rights organization Amnesty International addressed the Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia Vladimir Kolokoltsev with an open letter demanding to prevent the prosecution of single picketers.
In recent days, they have been regularly detained near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the center of Moscow and in other cities.
We are talking about the journalist and politician Ilya Azar, who picketed the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in protest against the arrest of the creator of the public "Police Ombudsman", former police officer Vladimir Vorontsov, but in the end he was arrested for 15 days. Then, in support of Ilya Azar, his fellow journalists were detained, and just yesterday, Muscovites were indignant at the murder in Yekaterinburg of a 27-year-old young man accused of stealing wallpaper worth eight thousand rubles.
Amnesty International in its appeal to Vladimir Kolokoltsev recalled that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly should be respected and protected by public authorities even in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s website says. Therefore, the persecution of participants in solitary pickets, including the journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar and dozens of other picketers is unacceptable. All detainees must be released and administrative proceedings against them discontinued. The employees of law enforcement bodies who committed a violation of their rights should be held accountable, and this practice should cease.
The persecution of all detained participants in a series of single pickets, which began in Moscow and St. Petersburg about a week ago, was called groundless "even according to excessively restrictive Russian law that directly permits holding single pickets." Human rights activists also did not agree with the violation of the "self-isolation regime" called by the police as the reason for the detention. Firstly, the term "self-isolation" implies voluntariness, here people are required to isolate themselves by force. Secondly, the picketers "stood on the street one at a time, at a reasonable distance from other people, using personal protective equipment in accordance with current health measures. In fact, it is the detention and arrest of these people that currently threaten public health, given poor sanitary conditions and often crowded police departments", - says Amnesty International.
The human rights organization called on the minister "to instruct police officers to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Russia without any discrimination".
Let us recall that last day at the Ministry of Internal Affairs building on Petrovka Street, 38 in the center of the capital, police detained 20 people. Law enforcement officers in a megaphone demanded that the picketers disperse, citing the fact that mass events in Moscow were temporarily banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.