Remembering is prohibited
Several foreign human rights activists were detained by law enforcement officers on Saturday 6 October in Nizhny Novgorod. Head of the Civil Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina informed the press that five Spanish nationals, one person from the United Kingdom and a German national had been detained. All are involved in human rights work, and the German national is an active member of Amnesty International.
Ms Gannushkina explained that those detained had come to Russia to take part in a conference dedicated to the memory of Anna Politkovskaya, murdered a year ago. “The conference couldnt be held because of interference from the authorities [see the link below] and now foreign citizens have been detained.”
She mentioned that as well as the foreign nationals, the law enforcement officers had also taken Stanislav Dmitrievsky and Oksana Chelysheva, to the police station. The two previously headed the Russia-Chechnya Friendship which was liquidated by a court order.
She reported that Oksana Chelysheva had also been handed a summons to appear for questioning, although no indication had been given of the criminal investigation this was linked with. She did not go to the interrogation as she doesnt have a lawyer.
Stanislav Dmitrievsky told the radio station Echo Moskvy that the human rights activists were suspected of infringing migration legislation. He mentioned that they had been detained directly in the offices of the Nizhny Novgorod Foundation to Support Tolerance. Police officers also removed computers.
As reported here, a bank refused to transfer the money required to reimburse travel and accommodation expenses. The human rights defenders have accused the authorities of being behind this.
The foreign guests to the forum announced that they would still come to Nizhny Novgorod to honour Anna Politkovskayas memory. However on Thursday, the hotel administration cancelled their reservation claiming that “the hotel rooms had been flooded”. As a result, some of the guests found accommodation independently, and others were put up by the Foundation members in their flats.