12 October 2005 a district officer of Blagoveshchensk (Republic of Bachkiria, Russian Federation), Vasiliy Jukov was put on probation for 3 years. He was the second policeman who was condemned for exceeding his authority by covering up the mass beatings on 12-14 December 2004 in Blagoveshchensk, when OMON and police had beaten citizens of Blagoveshchensk and its suburbs. Read more (16-OCT-2005)
Vasiliy Jukov was accused of making Blagoveshchensk citizens, who had been beaten in December 2004, change their statements. He also made the victims of these beatings renounce their applications, thus, disallowing the institution of procedures against the police and OMON. The Court fixed a period of probation for 3 years and forbade him to take up a state post for 5 years. On 29 September a colleague of Vasiliy Jukov, a district officer Alfred Sultanov was accused of the same crime and put on probation for 3 years.
By the same criminal case based on the events of 12-14 December 2004 there are eight accused, including the head of OMON detachment O.Sokolov and the head of the Main Investigation Agency of Internal Affairs of Blagoveshchensk I.Ramazanov. They are threatened with 3-10 years imprisonment for exceeding their authority.
The mass beatings in Blagoveshchensk leaked out thanks to the journalists of a Blagoveshchensk newspaper “Zerkalo” who published an article about these events. Under pressure from the authorities, local publishing houses refused to publish the newspaper’s news about the Blagoveshchensk beatings. At the end of March the authorities stopped the publication of this newspaper. After that, a human rights organization was founded on the basis of the newspaper “Zerkalo”. But according to Veronika Shakhova, the editor of the newspaper “Zerkalo”, the authorities do all their best to prevent the activity of this organization by slowly driving these people out of Blagoveshchensk.
Russian human rights activists try to support the newspaper “Zerkalo”. In September at the meeting of Human rights Houses in Baku Valery Borshchev (picture), the chairman of the Russian Research Center for Human Rights read his report about harassment in the Russian Federation. As the most important problem, he picked out the freedom of speech and as an example he pointed out the story about the newspaper “Zerkalo”. Valery Borshchev asked for the support of international organizations represented by Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders and representatives of the International Service for Human Rights.