Russia: Independent Human Rights Council set up
Ludmila Alexeyeva and Lev Ponomarev
A group of Russian human rights activists have announced that they are forming a Human Rights Council and will, in the near future, be preparing a new report on the Magnitsky case. According to Natalia Pelevina, they are also planning to carry out their own investigation into the events on Bolotnaya Square on 6 May. Following a huge anti-Putin demonstration on the eve of his highly controversial inauguration for a third term as President, a number of participants were arrested, with very many still in detention.
At the moment the Council is made up of 9 members, including Ludmila Alexeyeva from the Moscow Human Rights Group and Lev Ponomarev from the NGO For Human Rights.
In May this year two prominent human rights defenders – Sergei Kovalev and Oleg Orlov – issued an open appeal to members of the Human Rights Council under the President. Its title says it all Do not provide a Front for Pretend Democracy! (the link is to a translation into English). Over subsequent months virtually all members of the Council have indeed felt unable to remain. In recent months, as reported, there have been frightening attempts to curb freedom of expression, assembly, association and simply freedom in Russia.
Information about the new group from grani.ru