Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Via Prague Watchdog:

Russia’s Supreme Court okays dismantling of Russian-Chechen Friendship Society

By Tomáš Vršovský

MOSCOW - A Russian NGO, which has been reporting on the conflict in Chechnya for several years, has lost another round in the battle waged against them by the government. Today the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation turned down the appeal of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (ORChD) against the Nizhny Novgorod regional court’s verdict to dismantle the organization.

The NGO, based in Nizhny Novgorod, has been openly harassed by the authorities for the third year. Last year its director Stanislav Dmitriyevsky was given a two-year conditional sentence for publishing a Chechen resistance leader’s call for peace talks.

Russian and international human rights organizations called the case politically motivated. In recent months, dozens of foreign politicians and celebrities, including several MEPs, became members of the NGO in order to send a clear message to Russian authorities not to continue with the attacks and to prevent the NGO from being dismantled; unfortunately it was all in vain.

“It’s a clear signal to both Russian civil society and the free world,” Dmitriyevsky told Prague Watchdog at a protest rally that was held in the evening in front of Solovetsky Stone near Lubyanka, headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

“This decision shows that they totally ignore not only the Russian people, but the opinion of the free world as well,” said Dmitriyevsky, adding that ORChD would appeal the verdict in Strasbourg, although the decision of the European Court of Human Rights will not come any time soon. What’s needed now is urgent action that would enable ORChD to do its work, he added.

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