Friday, November 11, 2005

RCFS Under Threat - II

Re. Coordinated Efforts by the Russian Authorities to Close Down the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS)

Dear all,

1. Unexpectedly, the judge in the court procedure regarding the de-registration of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), changed her mind, and fixed the next hearing in this case in Nizhny Novgorod for Monday, 14 November, 10:30 am.

Just ten days before she had decided that the hearing was postponed for an indefinite period of time, until the case isconsidered by the superior body, the Panel of Judges on civil cases at the Supreme Court of the RF.

2. The next, and maybe final, hearing on the criminal case against Stas Dimitrievsky, the head of the RCFS, based on a charge under part 2b of Article 282 ("inciting hatred or enmity on the basis of ethnicity and religion") for having allowed the (re-)publication of two articles on the Chechen conflict, Aslan Maskhadov’s open letter to the European Parliament and Akhmed Zakaev’s appeal to the people of Russia, will take place in Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday, 16th November, 10:00 am.

If convicted in this criminal case, Stas Dimitrievsky faces up to 5 years imprisonment.

3. The hearing of the Arbitrage Court in Nizhny Novgorod regarding alleged tax evasion of the RCFS will also take place on Wednesday, 16th November, 2:30 pm.

In a very unusual manner, the RCFS had been ordered by the tax inspectorate to pay profit tax for grants to implement specific human rights projects in the period from 2002 to 2004 from three foreign donors, and to pay a fine, totalling 1.001.561 Rubles (around 28.200 Euro).

Additionally, on the basis of the conclusions made by the tax inspectorate, also a criminal case was commenced by the Interior Ministry. Mr. Dimitrievsky is yet not formally indicted, but this could be taken up right after a decision of the Arbitrage Court.

Please find attached the newest statement of the RCFS on the developments.

Sincerely,

Joachim Frank
(International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights)

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INFORMATION CENTER OF THE RUSSIAN-CHECHEN FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY

RUSSIAN-CHECHEN
INFORMATION AGENCY
Press Release #1596 from November 11, 2005

Report from Nizhny Novgorod

URGENT MESSAGE

Court hearing on liquidation of the RCFS have unexpectedly fixed on 14 November. The judge Samartseva has changed her mind, all of a sudden.

11.11.2005. The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society received a notification signed by the judge Samartseva stating that she had scheduled the main hearing of the case concerning the suit lodged by the Ministry of Justice against the RCFS on November 14. Thus, she has overruled her own decision taken on November 1, 2005 to postpone consideration of the case for an indefinite period of time.

As we reported before, on 2 November 2005 the judge of Nizhny Novgorod region Court Samartseva postponed consideration of the suit lodged by the Ministry of Justice against the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society with the demand to close the organization down. The time for the next hearing has not been fixed.

The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society was represented by Alexander Lavrent'ev who appealed not to consider the suit as according to the “Law on Public Associations” the registration body has not right to lodge a suit with the demand to destroy an organization. After the judge made a decision not to comply with the request, the RCFS representatives stated that they were going to appeal this decision in the superior court by submitting a complaint. The judge made a decision to postpone the case hearing for an indefinite period of time until the case is considered by the Panel of Judges on civil cases at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

The judge’s notification was signed on 3 November but sent on 8 November. The RCFS had it delivered only today, in the second half of the day.

The letter from Samartseva says, “I have to inform you that in accordance with parts 1 and 2 of Article 223 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, part 1 of Article 371 of the Civil Code the ruling not to comply with the request can’t be an obstacle to hold the main hearing of the case.

Thus, I have to inform you that the date of the main hearing is scheduled now on 14 November 2005 at 10 am”.

According to the RCFS staffers, this sudden decision evidences an assumption that it has been done on purpose in order to create as many obstacles as possible for the RCFS to carry out their defense and to exhaust them by court hearings that follow one another.

From our correspondent
Editor in Chief Stanislav Dmitrievskiy

The publication of this release was made possible by European Union within the framework of the project “Open information about Chechnya in the name of peace and human rights: Russian- Chechen Information Agency” and The National Endowment for Democracy within the framework of the program “Russian-Chechen Information Partnership”

__________________________________________
Joachim Frank, Project Coordinator
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Wickenburggasse 14/7
A-1080 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 22
Fax: +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 50
Web: http://www.ihf-hr.org
______________________________________

See also in this blog: RCFS Under Threat
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