Harassment of Krasnodar Human Rights Defender


The Krasnodar NGO Youth Group for Tolerance ETHnIKA has encountered constant harassment and obstruction from the authorities since 2007. In 2009 the pressure sharply increased, ending with a criminal investigation being initiated against the Head of ETHnIKA. Anastasia Denisova.  Ms Denisova is on the Coordinating Council of YHRM, works with the Memorial Human Rights Centre, the SOVA Centre, and as a Council of Europe expert.

On 11 January 2010 Ms Denisova’s flat was subjected to a search lasting more than 3 hours, with the police officers supposedly looking for pirated software as part of an investigation into “terrorism”.

She was called in for questioning the following day and learned there that a criminal investigation had been initiated back in December 2009. She is suspected "illegal use of copyright objects or related rights" as well as "appropriation, storage, transportation of pirated copies on a large scale of material intended for sale, with use of official position". If convicted, she could face a six-year prison term and a fine of up to half a million roubles (close to 12 thousand euros).  The case seems to be based on computer systems seized from an office Ms Denisova was working at in October 2009.

There are a number of dubious elements to this case, including pressure by the investigators on Ms Denisova to not reveal any information about the investigation. Russia’s Constitutional Court has clearly stated that investigators have no right to demand signed undertakings not to disclose information.

Anastasia Denisova as a human rights and civic activist, who has focused on combating xenophobia is regularly invited to be a speaker at OSCE/ODIHR events about the role of youth and new methods of non-violent counteraction to hate crimes. She has also been involved, in expert capacity, on several projects of Youth Directorate of Council of Europe, as well as  in Georgian-Russian Civic Dialogue.

Her organization ETHnIKA was registered in 2004. It aims at developing tolerance among young people, combating intolerance and aggressive manifestations of xenophobia and raising awareness about human rights.

From information at

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