Team29 fights for civil rights in Russia

By | February 5, 2017

On February 2, 2016, the Team29, an informal association of lawyers and journalists based in Russia that supports the Raoul Wallenberg Research Initiative-RW70 and defended historian Boris Sokolov in the court, distributed its weekly newsletter. Here are main points, compiled by Katya Alalykina, and translated by Vadim Birstein:

On February 1, 2017, a regular court session on the case of Olga Maltseva against Petersburg’s “troll factory” took place at the Nevsky Regional Court in St. Petersburg (Maltseva is a former employee of the “factory”). Representatives of the “factory”, as usual, did not appear in the court room.

TEAM29 lawyers are also participating in the case of the “Kaspersky Laboratory” employee and two employees of the FSB Center for Information Security, arrested in December who are accused of treason. At the moment, we can’t give details. A little history of the case is given in BuzzFeed News.

Also, a hearing of the case against Natalia Sharina, Director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature (LUL), is taking place in the Meshchansky Regional Court in Moscow. At the last session, a representative of the library demanded her to pay damages of 2.4 million rubles. Members of the LUL staff who had worked with Sharina, wrote a letter in which they referred to the action of the current management as “cynical and immoral.”

The rest of the news is not encouraging. Aleksey Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov are again on trial in the city of Kirov; torture of prisoners in the Karelian prison camp no. 7 continues; and there is fighting going on once again in the Eastern Ukraine, about which we know almost nothing. Do you think it’s “déjà vu”? We too, but what news are you waiting for in the Groundhog Day?

P.S. (written by V. B.) On February 2, 2016, in the Leninsky Regional Court of the city of Kirov the prosecution asked that accused Aleksey Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov be declared guilty and sentence Navalny to 5-years probation and a fine of 500,000 rubles, and Ofitserov, to 4-years probation and the same fine. This is a complete repetition of the sentence from 2013 that has already been challenged by the European Court on Human Rights.

Author: Vadim Birstein

Dr. Vadim J. Birstein is a historian and geneticist. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and books and has written two scholarly historical works, "The Perversion of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science" and "SMERSH, Stalin's Secret Weapon: Soviet Military Counterintelligence in WWII". He received the inaugural "St. Ermin's Intelligence Book Award" in 2012 for SMERSH.

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