Follow up on the Article 19 of
the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statement of the Russian Human Rights NGOs
1. The Committee against Torture considered the fourth periodic report of the Russian Federation at its 37th session in November 2006. Paragraph 29 of the conclusions and recommendations adopted after consideration of the report, requests “that the State party provide, within one year, information on its response to the Committee’s recommendations contained in paragraphs 8, 10, 12, 16, 22, 23 and 24 of the conclusions and recommendations”.
2. The Russian Human Rights NGOs submitted their Shadow report on the Observance of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by the Russian Federation for the period from 2001 to 2006 at 37th session of the Committee continues to monitor the situation. Below is the report of the Russian NGOs on how the Russian Federation observed some of the Committees’ recommendations.
Para 10. Hazing in the military (dedovshchina)
3. The fact that Russia switched to the year and half period of military service has made the situation with tortures cases in the army much worse – those drafted for a year and a half found themselves at the same quarters with those who had been drafted earlier for two years. The military commanders and prosecutors did not take any measures preventing the “oldies” from venting their anger of the younger soldiers and avoiding negative consequences.
4. Soldiers Mothers Committees state that the number of complaints from draftees and their parents against tortures and cruel treatment sent in the period from July 2007 to October 2007 has increased five times compared to the same period last year.
5. It must be noted that the Federal decree “On federal target program aimed to staffing the number of military units with contract draftees in 2004-2007” did not improve the situation and did not bring the reduction in the number of torture cases and violence in the army.
6. It usually happens on the contrary. The victims of torture and ill treatment are the soldiers who had signed the contract. Within the total number of complaints from those who had suffered from cruel treatment and bullying in military units, the majority comes from the drafted soldiers who signed the contract. By signing the contract draftees hope that their new status in the unit will help them to avoid cruel treatment and humiliation from the older soldiers and officers. However this does not happed. The problem becomes worse because beside the problem of humiliation another problem appears – the junior officers and older soldiers trim the new soldier from his salary. Soldiers, seeing that the contract cannot protect them from humiliation and cruel treatment soon become disappointed and want to cancel the contract, but do not know how to do it. The form of the contract recommended by the President Decree # 1172 dated on September 11, 2007 does not contain the information about the rights of the draftee and the responsibility of the federal body, signing the contract in case of the violation of these rights. Thus the state avoids any responsibility for breaching the contract.
7. During the year NGOs that are involved in the protection of the soldiers have registered soldiers’ complaints of cases of cruel treatments and tortures in the army.
8. The General Military Prosecutor’s Office stated that during the four months of the current year the number of soldiers who had committed suicides have increased on 26 % compared with the same period of last year. At the same time, on September 20th, 2007, during the round table of representatives of the military prosecutors, military investigators, military commanders, state human rights institutions and NGOs, the Military Prosecutor General stated that during 8 months of 2007 the number of crimes connected with hazing has decreased on 34 %, compared with the same period of the last year. However the analysis conducted by Soldiers’ Mothers Committees measuring the state of criminal activity connected with violation of principle of prohibition of torture and cruel treatment in the army shows dramatic increase of such crimes, connecting it with the draft of spring 2007 that brought new soldiers for 18 months of service.
9. During the round table Mr. Fridinsky, the Military Prosecutor General, has mentioned that the level of legal knowledge of soldiers is not sufficient. To help the situation the General Military Prosecutor’s office held a unified day of legal knowledge on September 29th for all the military units in the Russian Federation. Soldiers Mothers committees however believe that even if this event did take place in the units (none of the soldiers who applied to the committees confirmed that his unit conducted this event), it was conducted rather formally and did not influence the general situation with cruelty and torture cases in the army.
10. Like before, neither prosecutors nor prosecutorial investigators, who started work on September 7, 2007, do not ensure immediate, objective and efficient investigation of tortures and cruel treatment.
11. Prosecutors and investigators do not explain to the witnesses that they have the right to demand protection while the investigation lasts. That is why all the witnesses whom the victim calls, while being pressed by those who had committed the crime or by the commanders do not give statements of what had really happened. In their statements the soldiers write standard set of phrases that had been obviously dictated to them, that nobody had ever abused the plaintiff and that he himself is perfectly happy with everything (even though he had been abused). After this the investigator usually issues a statement denying the initiation of the case. The guilty ones are not punished. Such cases are plentiful. The cases that make it to the court are those with really grave consequences that are impossible to hide.
12. One of the most vivid examples is the case in Volgograd, when a garrison prosecutor’s office denied the initiation of a criminal case against officers and junior officers of a military unit number 34605 9 (Volgograd) on soldier Lyalyakin’s complaint. “In educational purposes” he and the other solider Vlasov were put in front of the soldiers naked and execution by a firing squad was staged. They were tied to the pole and left overnight and then were walked around the military unit on a leach like dogs. Unable to bear this any longer Lyalyakin deserted the unit and ran away to home, where he wrote to the Soldiers’ Mothers committee and to the Military Prosecutor’s office of Nizhny Novgorod. He was treated in the psychological institution and was later transferred to the reserve. The other soldier, Vlasov, was unable to leave the unit. He wrote a detailed statement to the representatives of the Volgograd organization “Mother’s right” about the tortures and humiliations that he had been put though. However, later, under much pressure, he took back his statement from “Mother’s right”.
13. Having taken a statement from some of the other soldiers and their commanders, that initiated these harassments, the investigator denied the initiation of a criminal case. This is a typical example of how the army commanders and investigating officers hide the crimes in order to improve the statistics.
14. When Soldiers Mothers Committees state in their letters to the military prosecutor that the witnesses of crimes had not been given appropriate protection, they are sent formal letters that the witness himself never required it. But the witness is a soldier who, as a rule, does not know that he must write a written request in order to be offered protection. Neither military officials nor the officials from the prosecutor’s office do not feel that they need to tell them about their rights.
15. Russia had never had a program of rehabilitation for the victims of violence and cruelty in the army, as, as far as we know, this issue is not planned to be considered on the level of either government, Ministry for Defense, Health Ministry, Social services or other governmental institutions.
16. Thus, during the last year, the Government did not take any effective measures in order to solve the problem of hazing in the army and in order to provide objective and efficient investigation of torture and cruel treatment complaints. The military officers are not being legally educated. The measures to ensure protection of the victims and witnesses of army crimes are not taken.
Para 12. Investigations and impunity: reform of the Procuracy
17. There have been made some steps towards the fulfillment of UN Committee recommendations: the introduction of Federal Law #N 87-FZ ‘On Amendments into the Code of Criminal Procedure and into the Federal Law ‘On the Prosecutor’s Office of Russian Federation’’ (signed on June 5 2007). Under the provisions of the new law, a new structure – Investigative Committee (IC) – is to be introduced into the system of Procuracy of Russian Federation. The Committee will be responsible for carrying out criminal investigations. The new law came into force on September 7, 2007.
18. The creation of the Investigative Committee within the General Prosecutor’s Office had a number of aims, the most important of which are:
To make it impossible for the Prosecutor General to influence the appointment of the head and deputy heads of the Investigative Committee.
19. According to the new law, the head of the Investigative Committee (the deputy of Prosecutor General) of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russian Federation is appointed by the Federation Council, and introduced by the President of Russia.
20. The First Deputy and other deputies of the Head of the Investigative Committee are appointed by the President on the proposal of the Head of the Investigative Committee. The other staff members of the Committee will be appointed and dismissed as specified in the procedure set by the Head of the Committee; the Head of the Committee is responsible to solve all issues concerning appointments and dismissal of all staff members. Among all, the new regulations mean that the Prosecutor General has no influence on the appointment and dismissal of his/her deputy.
To expand the authority of the Head of the Investigative Committee in relation to preventing crime among high level state authorities.
21. The Head of the IC has received the authority (formerly the authority associated with the Prosecutor General) to bring legal action against people with immunities; namely, against the Prosecutor General, deputies of the State Duma, Senators, candidates in Presidential elections, and former Presidents of Russia.
To separate the function of criminal investigation from function of supervision of criminal investigation, including investigations of torture cases.
22. The Head of the IC has the right to make decisions about starting and investigation of the criminal cases. Taking into account that the Head of the IC does not directly report to the Prosecutor General, we can speak about his/her relative independence in decision-making within the scope of his/her authority.
23. Should the Prosecutor General have objections to the decisions taken by the Head of the IC, he/she has the right to appeal to court that will independently solve the conflict. The local prosecutors in case they disagree with the heads of local investigative units, should address the heads of IC departments.
24. From now on, the prosecutors are no longer able to directly influence the decision to whether or not launch the criminal investigation, and the process preliminary investigation; they are no longer able to approve the launch of the criminal investigation, authorize investigative actions, perform certain investigative actions in criminal investigation, or take procedural decisions on criminal cases.
25. While not being able to directly influence the above-mentioned decisions and procedures, the prosecutor has the authority to supervise the activity of investigative agencies: once the decision to launch a criminal investigation has been made, the investigator must forward the decision papers to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor finds the investigator’s decision unlawful or unreasonable, he/she can – within the 24 hours’ time from the moment the decision was received – cancel investigation’s decision, on which he/she has should produce a well-reasoned statement. In this case, the investigators must immediately inform both the applicant and the accused of the decision.
26. The prosecutor also receives the copy of the decision to refuse the criminal investigation (within the 24 hours’ time since the decision has been taken). If the prosecutor deems the refusal to launch the investigation unlawful, he/she can issue a motivated statement on forwarding the relevant materials to the head of the investigative unit for re-consideration. However, the last decision is on the head of the investigative unit, and if he/she does not agree with prosecutor’s opinion and his/her recommendations (which are no longer obligatory), the head of the investigative unit will leave the initial decision as it has been. The prosecutor then has the right to question the decision of the head of the local investigative unit by addressing the next in investigative rank.
27. Moreover, the prosecutor, having deemed the investigator’s decision unlawful or unreasonable, is to issue a motivated statement with the recommendation to forward the relevant case materials to the head of the investigative unit for re-consideration. However, the decision to call back the criminal investigation can only be officially recognized as unlawful or unreasonable by the head of the investigative unit, who then overrules it and resumes the criminal investigation.
28. The statement on the temporary suspension of preliminary investigation can not be issued by the prosecutor. This is a procedural decision that can only be taken by the head of the investigative unit.
29. This, the Investigative Committee is rendered practically independent of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
To increase the quality of criminal investigation
30. Concerning the issue of the independence of the investigative units, it is important to note that the indictment is validated by the prosecutor and the prosecution in court is supported only by the prosecutor, while earlier the prosecutor could delegate the task of representing the prosecution in court to the investigator. Moreover, now the prosecutor can only refuse to appear in court if he/she motivates the refusal. Earlier the requirements to the public prosecutor were not as strict.
31. Consequently, we can assume that before approving the indictment the prosecutors will study the case more thoroughly than they used to. The time for this has doubled and is now 10 days as of the moment the case was forwarded to the prosecutor. The latter can take one of two decisions: to approve the indictment and send the case to court; or to return the case to the investigator for additional investigation, changing of the scope of the indictment, the labeling of the accused or the indictment itself. The investigator then should correct the indictment and provide written response to the recommendations. The time for correcting the defects or questioning the decision of the prosecutor is set by the head of the investigative unit, but can never exceed one month as of the moment the recommendations from the prosecutor have been delivered to the investigator.
32. Should the public prosecutor refuse to support the prosecution at court on the grounds that he/she believes that the guilt of the accused can not be proven, one might ask a valid question as to why this was discovered that far into the criminal process – when the case was brought to court, not when the indictment was being confirmed.
33. The Investigative Committee started its work on September 7, 2007. Too little time has passed to judge the efficiency of the changes. Already now, however, certain difficulties surface which hopefully connected to period of transition and will be solved with time. For example, the head of the IC as well as some top level official of the IC does not have personal reception hours. At the moment it is explained by the absence of assistants, who are yet to be appointed. The citizens address their claims to the heads of investigation units in the Procuracy, but it takes longer than allowed by the legislation to deal with those claims as the new staff requires more time to study the materials. While we do think those are more of organizational difficulties than anything else, the constitutional rights of the citizens regarding their access to justice are being violated. Moreover, the citizens are not being informed about the details of Procuracy supervision, about the order of appeal and reasons for changes.
34. Before we give the preliminary account of the efficiency of the Investigative Committee in its new incarnation, we must note that it will be of outmost importance how the new law will be enforced and implemented by both prosecutors and the investigative units within the Procuracy.
35. On one hand, the prosecutor is now devoid of such important functions as initiation of the criminal case, giving directions on investigative activities, cancel of procedural decisions. On the other hand, the final stage of the preliminary investigation – the approval of the indictment – is still the sole responsibility of the prosecutor. Consequently, if the preliminary investigation is carried out with violations or the prosecutor does not agree with the labeling of the crime, the indictment will not be approved and the case will not be sent to court, as the support of the case in court is also the sole competence of the public prosecutor.
36. Thus one can assume that realizing that the prosecutor can refuse to approve the indictment, the investigators will try to make sure that it doesn’t happen – they will try to reach preliminary consensus on some key issues during the investigation, they might even offer some concessions. In this regard, the independence of the IC from the Procuracy is valid on paper only.
37. The fact that the disagreements that can occur between the Procuracy and the IC are proposed to be solved through court should mean that there will be independent treatment of the problems in case they arise, which can be considered as positive step.
38. Most of the population, who do not have sufficient legal knowledge or opportunity – financial or otherwise – to receive qualified legal support, will continue to address the Procuracy with complaints on the unlawful activities of law enforcement officers. It is impossible to be 100% sure that at the Procuracy the citizens will be explained the nature of the new regulations and will be advised to address the investigative committee to save time and increase efficiency of the consideration of their complaint. In practice, we might have the following situation: a citizen addresses the Procuracy with a complaint on the illegal actions of, say, a law enforcement officer. The prosecutor considers the claim and sees that there is corpus delicti in the actions of the law enforcement agent. Because our hypothetical prosecutor now has no right to initiate the criminal procedure, they send the complaint and the recommendation letter over to the head of the investigative unit. The head of the investigative unit will consider the recommendation received from the prosecutor and only then will take the final decision. As a result there is a significant loss of time and no investigation on the actual claim, so important evidence and traces of crime, which could have helped to discover the truth of the matter, might already be missing by the time criminal investigation is launched.
Para 16. Written assurances in the “refoulement” context
39. Within the year that passed since the Conclusions and Recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture had been sent to the government of the Russian Federation, there had been not visible changes in the situations with refoulement of a person seeking or needing asylum to the country of origin.
40. The Russian Federation still readily returns Uzbek citizens to their home country, whenever the Uzbek authorities demand their return. Moreover, it has been noticed that in many cases the request for their return is triggered from a Russian side. For example, in case of Bairamali Yusupov, the requests for extradition were reinforced three times until they reached the level of criminal actions, presupposed by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
41. If the procedure of extradition is a complicated legal process, with a possibility of multi-stage appeal, the administrative expulsion, in its turn, is a much easier process. That is why for Uzbek citizens, as a rule the extradition is replaced for administrative expulsion. Some cases of expulsion of Uzbek citizens are currently in the European Court of Human Rights. They fall under the rule 39 of European Court, and we may hope that the decisions will soon be made concerning the cases of twenty Uzbeks living in the village of Ivanovo and awaiting this decision. After the decision is reached they will be able to go to Switzerland that had already offered them political asylum. The same is true about the case of Rustam Muminov. However with the latter case the outcomes are rather vague, since Mr. Muminov is currently being kept in custody in Uzbekistan. Whether it will be possible for the European Court to make Russia to take some steps in returning Mr. Mumidov depends on the actions taken by international institutions. It must be noted that Mumidov’s expulsion is considered illegal in the court of general jurisdiction. He was considered a victim of the case, and his interests were represented by the lawyer, hired by Memorial Human Rights Center. The director of the detention facility for expulsed foreign citizens who expulsed him was found guilty in the abuse of authority (Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code), dismissed and sentenced to an administrative fine. However, the FSB officers who gave this order had not been punished and nothing had been done in order to return Rustam Muminov.
42. Recently there have been a number of cases when the citizens of China, who support the Falun Gong movement, had been deported. In these cases instead of extradition, the deportation procedure is used, as the mechanism of this procedure is not clearly written and is defined by the order of the director of the Federal Migration Service on the basis the Decree # 533 of Ministry for Internal Affairs dated on August 26, 2004 “On organizing the activities of Federal Migration Service on deportation or administrative expulsion of a foreign citizens or stateless persons outside of the Russian Federation”. The procedure of making decision on deportation of foreign citizens or stateless persons as well as state body responsible for carrying out this is not specified in the Russian legislation. The decree of the Ministry for Internal Affairs that regulates the activities of the law-enforcement officials does not give the authority to apply the deportation procedures to the foreign citizen, which ban the person from entering Russian during the subsequent 5 years. The procedure of making decision on deportation of foreign citizens or stateless persons as well as state body responsible for carrying out this is not specified in the Russian legislation. The decree of the Ministry for Internal Affairs that regulates the activities of the law-enforcement officials does not give the authority to apply the deportation procedures to the foreign citizen, which ban the person from entering Russian during the subsequent 5 years.
43. It is unacceptable to apply such measures on the basis of the legal act. The rights and responsibilities of the person, who is subjected to such procedures, are not legally specified.
44. The issues, connected with deportation of the foreign citizens and stateless persons must be regulated in accordance with the RF Code on Administrative Violations together with the issues of deportation, as the Russian legislature does not differentiate between the legal consequences of deportation and administrative expulsion of foreign citizens and stateless persons outside of the Russian Federation.
45. The current situation allows the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation to say that deportation is not a punishment but it represents a special procedure, which does not allow for the lawyer to be present and is not subject to any appeal.
46. Thus, even though deportations rarely take place, once the process has been started it is impossible to stop it. The deportee is deprived of any legal rights to be represented by a lawyer and is not subject to court protection.
47. The lawyer who represents a Chinese citizen Ma Huey and her eight year old daughter who was born in Russia and disabled Gao Chun Man, living in St. Petersburg submitted complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. These complaints are prioritized. It was impossible to appeal to the Rule 39, as the deportation process takes a very short time – only 24 hours.
48. The only reasonable way out of the current situation would be combining of two similar procedures of deportation and administrative expulsion and maintaining them while keeping in line with the RF Code on Administrative Violations. The unified procedures of deportation (expulsion) needs detailed legal elaboration.
49. In all cases of deporting of persons seeking asylum, the Russian authorities do not consider whether their life is endangered in their countries. Very rarely in extradition cases of Uzbek citizens the authorities ask for guarantees from the Uzbek side that they will not apply capital punishment or torture to deportees. It must be noted however, that these guarantees from the Uzbek side are considered to be unreliable by many international experts since cruel torture and criminal case fabrication on political charges are widely known in Uzbekistan and was many times been mentioned in analytical materials of international organizations.
50. As for monitoring, which must be maintained after the deportees had been returned to their home country, we do not have any evidence that the Russian state authorities have ever conducted it. NGOs that often try to prevent refoulement have been involved in such monitoring. However, they often do not have an access to the necessary information, and they can only work with those deportees with whom they had worked on the territory of the Russian Federation. When the Federal Migration Service was inquired about the whereabouts of the deportees within the countries that they had been deported to, they answered that they do not have such data.
51. Monitoring conducted by NGOs within their abilities shows that deported foreign citizens can be subject to torture and receive longer custodial sentences. The Uzbek citizens Alishir Usmanov and Rustam Muminov received 8 and 5,5 years correspondingly on fabricated accusations.
52. Once she arrived in China Ma Huey was held in custody for 9 days. After she had been released she arrived home feeling so bad, that she could not even phone her husband who stayed in the Russian Federation.
53. No legislative changes in this area happened during last year. There is faint hope for consideration by the Supreme Court a complaint concerning legality of conduction the deportation in accordance with Decree #533 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However this complain submitted by Ma Huey is still not considered by the RF Supreme Court because of formal reasons.
54. The practice only became worse, as the deporting procedures started to be applied to persons seeking asylum. Thus one can conclude that the recommendations of the Committee had not been complied with.
Para 22. Violent attacks on human rights defenders
55. During the last year there were no measures introduced in Russia that would help to clearly understand and interpret the new law on non-governmental organizations. In spring of 2007 the non-governmental organizations and relevant governmental agencies prepared and approved the proposals on amending this law. The proposals were sent to the Presidential Administration, but have not yet been forwarded for consideration to the State Duma.
56. At the same time, last year has clearly demonstrated the validity of the worries of Russian and international human rights organizations regarding implementation of the new law. The implementation of this law has brought serious problems into the following areas:
- registration of new NGOs: the process is drowning in red tape, takes no less than 2 month and is often accompanied by the intervention from the Federal Registration Service (FRS) that reviews the content of the organizational statutes, introduces changes into the clauses that do not violate any legal provisions, and unreasonably refuses registration; the lack of reasoning behind negative decision complicates the appeal of this decision.
- registration of changes in the statute and other documents: the process is accompanied by many refusals and, yet again, much bureaucracy. It is almost impossible to receive a motivated refusal that can be questioned in court. Moreover, the aim of the procedure of registration of changes that do not require changing of the statute (relocation, staff changes, etc.) is no longer to notify, but to ask permission.
- new reporting procedures. Here are the main problems that arose in this respect: lack of information from the state on the new rules of reporting, lack of clear rules of filling in the new forms, lack of consulting offices in the regions. Those problems affected the first submission of the new reports in 2007, and led to disappointing outcomes. Thus, as of September 2007, FRS lacks reports from 65% of all organizations, and informs that 15% of the organizations failed to meet the deadline; all this led the FRS to block the activity of 2300 NGOs across the country. It is important to underline that many of these NGOs are alive, acting nut did not submit reports. However, FRS’s decision to close down organizations for failing to report led to the exclusion of those organizations from the lists of legal entities. This is obviously too strict of a measure.
- liquidation of active organizations. The new legislation makes it possible for the FRS in case of repeated failure (two or more times) to meet the deadline for provision of information (including regular reporting and other information that FRS has the right to ask for) to file in a lawsuit seeking to exclude the organization from the list of legal entities, that is to announce that it has ceased all activities as a legal entity. Before 2006 this provision was not that repressive, and only affected the organizations that had really stopped all activities. However, the last year brought court summons to a lot of active and well-known NGOs, including human rights organizations. It is important to underline that forceful liquidation would happen not only if an organization somehow failed to provide the necessary reports on time, but also if it had received warnings in relation to any violations of the current legislation.
57. The repressive character of the new law is best seen if one turns to mass checks of the NGOs carried out by the FRS. According to the new procedural order, as of 2006 the FRS have the right to request not only the decision and financial statements from the NGOs, but other documents they feel lacking for the check to be successful. The list is an open and – as practice shows – almost never-ending one. In particular, FRS were known to request the copies of all media coverage of an NGO, schedules of planned activities, copies of addresses to public authorities, documents recording the contacts with foreign organizations (participation in conferences, seminars, etc.). The number of checks has dramatically increased since last year. As a rule, the FRS would in the end find minor violations (a minute missing, delayed meeting, lack of signature on a document, etc.) after most of checks and would issue a statement saying that said NGO had violated this or that provision of the law, which means that an organization will be closed down should any further –ever minor – violations be discovered. This very fact is a strong restrictive mechanism in itself; besides, the check normally paralyses the activity of the organization as it requires excessive copying, binding of the documents, discussions with FRS, preparation of appeals against the FRS decisions, etc. In the end, those are the citizens who suffer as they are not able to receive full attention since everybody in NGO who could give this attention is involved in communication with FRS, which takes at least a month. The problem is further complicated by the fact that there is no standard procedure of reaction to the decisions and claims of the checking organization, and no standard – administrative or court-related – procedures for appealing against the warnings that had been issued. As a result, thousands of organizations receive almost irrevocable warnings, which at any moment – with the next warning for any minor slip – can bring down the organization. Here is the list of the NGOs (most of them deal with the problems of tortures and cruel treatment) that had checks and reported about them either in published form or via the specialized mailing lists: Memorial Society; Ryazan Memorial Society, Chita Human Rights Center; Kazan Human Rights Center; ‘Sword and Shield’ organization in Cheboksary; Civic Assistance Committee; ‘Man and Law’ organization in Yoshkar-Ola; ‘Citizen Control’ organization in St Petersburg (It is important to underline that there are not more than 30 organizations in this country that monitor and report the cases of torture and cruel treatment, and provide assistance to the victims). All checked organizations receive warnings, most of those warnings are now being appealed in court. Moreover, some organizations are now suing the FRS for violations in check procedures.
58. We would like to note that the state is very selective about enforcing this law. On April 10, 2007, 5 days before the reporting deadline, the Government approved the Order # 213 on changing the forms and deadlines of reporting for religious organizations, which also qualify as NGOs. For this category, the forms were simplified and the deadlines extended. Moreover, on October 9, 2007 in the first discussion at the State Duma they accepted amendments that would exempt housing councils, gardening and garage societies from the sphere of influence of the NGO law.
59. It is important that in 2007 the restrictive application of the new legislation was accompanied by the use of other repressive measures on the civil society. Namely, NGOs and their activists feel the restrictions imposed by the fiscal law, anti-extremist law, the law on rallies and demonstrations, the Code on administrative violations. The selective use of the copyright law against the NGOs and activists is a relatively new fashion – the organizations are now inspected for and accused of the use of pirated software. Recent examples of authorities seizing equipment from organizations and paralyzing their activities are seen in Nizhniy Novgorod: those were the Foundation for the Support of Tolerance, ‘Novaya Gazeta’ editorial office and Human Rights Union who had suffered. Moreover, NGOs and – among them – human rights organizations kept being discredited in mass media.
60. The state did not take any measures to protect the activists, including those who monitor and report about torture and cruel treatment, from the threats or other negative – and possibly harmful – consequences of their activities. Many activists receive active threats, are attacked. Names, home phone numbers of the activists are still being openly published in Internet in the lists of ‘enemies of the people’, accompanied by direct calls for attack. Law enforcement agencies are not efficient in investigating those cases, they do not prosecute the guilty parties, refuse to initiate criminal investigations, maintain that there are no real threats. This inactivity of the state creates the feeling of impunity, gives possibilities for further attacks, threats and even murders of the activists.
61. None of the recommendations provided by the Committee in this paragraph were carried out by the Russian Federation.
 This section is prepared by the Union of the Soldiers Mothers Committees of Russia
 This section is prepared by the Public Verdict Foundation
 This section is prepared by the Civic Assistance Committee
 This section is prepared by the Public Verdict Foundation with using materials of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Youth Human Rights Movement