For Immediate Distribution
Home of Russian opposition activist and Magnitsky Justice campaigner Natalia Pelevina is raided in Moscow
29 April 2015 – The Moscow home of Russian opposition activist Natalia Pelevina was raided by police operatives and investigative committee detectives on April 17 2015. Pelevina is an outspoken supporter of the Magnitsky Justice Campaign, who worked closely with murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and current opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov, seeking to have more names added to the US Magnitsky list.
In a raid similar to the 2008 arrest of whistleblower lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Russian officials stormed Pelevina’s apartment with a search warrant signed by Judge Artur Karpov, the same judge who refused lawsuits from the family of Sergei Magnitsky to appeal the decision not to investigate Magnitsky’s murder.
According to Pelevina, “my phone was ripped out of my hand and I wasn’t allowed to call my lawyer. [The search] went on for hours, anything technical was confiscated along with money, passports, and papers.”
Natalia Pelevina was then taken to the Russian Investigative Committee for interrogation, which was led by Major General of Justice Rustam Gabdullin. She was interrogated for four hours, during which time she became a suspect accused of organizing and financing the Bolotnaya street riots of May 2012, under Article 212, part 1 of the Russian Constitution.
“Needless to say none of it is true and I had nothing to do with the 6 of May events, and wasn’t even on Bolotnaya that day,” said Pelevina.
Pelevina was due to fly to Washington DC this week, to join members of US Congress and prominent Russian activists in a symposium honouring the memory of Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down outside the Kremlin in February this year. Because her passport and money were seized, she is now unable to leave Moscow, and Bill Browder, leader of the Magnitsky Justice Campaign, will be taking her place on the panel.
Bill Browder will also be testifying at a hearing on the Global Magnitsky Act at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs today. (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-hearing-global-magnitsky-human-rights-accountability-act)
“Natalia Pelevina is a long time friend of the Magnitsky Justice campaign, whose only ‘crime’ was to speak out against the repression and corruption of the Putin regime,” said Bill Browder.“That she is now being persecuted for a crime she did not commit, as Sergei Magnitsky was, is clear and sinister evidence that the Putin regime is a police state, intent on stamping out the voices of dissidents.”
Judge Artur Karpov has a history of persecuting dissidents. On 28th February 2014 he sanctioned the house arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (http://pravo.ru/news/view/102312/), and he also sanctioned the 2012 arrests of Bolotnaya square activists (http://bolotnoedelo.info/participants/butchers/652/karpov-artur).
He is the same judge that refused a lawsuit from Magnitsky’s mother seeking to end the posthumous proceeding against her son in March 2013, and a lawsuit from Magnitsky’s colleague, Jamison Firestone in May 2013, seeking to compel the Russian Investigative Committee to investigate the tax officials who approved the fraudulent $230 million tax refund. In 2011 he also refused the lawsuit from Magnitsky’s mother seeking to compel the Russian Investigative Committee to investigate the torture and murder of her son.
Sergei Magnitsky’s house was raided by Interior Ministry officials in 2008, after he uncovered a $230 million fraud committed by corrupt government officials and testified against those involved. He was arrested during the raid, tortured in pre-trial detention for a year in an effort to get him to retract his testimony, and was eventually killed in prison in 2009.
For more information, please contact:
Magnitsky Justice Campaign
By Delisa Morris
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
QUITO, Ecuador — On Wednesday, Ecuadorian law makers overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the legal recognition of civil unions in the South American country.
The measure was approved 89-1 and seeks to amend part of the country’s civil code.
El Comercio, an Ecuadorian newspaper, reported the measure would allow LGBT couples to receive “the same rights and obligations of a marriage” in terms of pensions, purchasing a home together and other benefits. It would also eliminate the requirement that couples must wait two years before entering into a civil union and demonstrate that they had lived together during this period.
The proposal would also apply to unmarried straight couples.
This union is open to couples of all sexual orientations. The Civil Code specifies that this union is “not considered as marriage” and must be between “two people of legal age.”
The move furthers the rights of same-sex couples by annulling the prior requirement of having to prove a relationship of two years to be recognized in a civil union. Yolanda Herrera, a lawyer who has worked in various LGBTQ causes explained to teleSUR English, “There are legal loopholes that are up in the air, like the affiliation of the child of a same-sex couple that decides…to have children.”
She added,“Today, those two mothers cannot (both) be registered, or in the case of surrogate mothers for two fathers, they cannot register their children. Only the person that gives birth (will be registered)”.
She explained that this creates legal issues as “when the couple splits up, (the registration) will only be maintained by one of these people.”
“It is a major achievement,” Diane Rodríguez, president of Silueta X Association, an Ecuadorian LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade after the vote.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has 30 days to sign or veto the measure.
Though, same-sex couples will have legal recognition gays and lesbians remain unable to adopt children.
Ecuador is among the growing list of Latin American countries that have extended legal recognition to same-sex couples.
Gays and lesbians are able to marry in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico City and a handful of other Mexican states.
For more information, please see:
Washington Blade – Ecuadorian lawmakers approve civil unions bill – 23 Apr. 2015
telesur – Civil Unions Approved by Ecuador’s National Assembly – 27 Apr. 2015
Pink News – Ecuador just approved same-sex civil unions – 28 Apr. 2015
GayStar News – Ecuador’s National Assembly approves gay civil unions bill – 28 Apr. 2015
By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Aid has been slow in reaching the most isolated communities in Days after the devastating 7.9 Magnitude Nepal after the devastating earthquake that struck the small mountainous country four days ago, claiming the lives of at least 5,000. People remain stranded, waiting for rescue and aid, in many of the countries remote towns and villages. While the relief efforts continued Tuesday, government officials warned that they were hindered by problems of getting aid into Nepal and then delivering it to the nation’s remote Himalayan communities in desperate need.
The government has declared three days of mourning in Nepal for the victims of Saturday’s earthquake which claimed the lives more than 5,000 people, left at least 10,000 people wounded and effected eight million people across the country, many of whom have now been displaced as a result of the large scale devastation. Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala says the government is doing all it can but is overwhelmed by the scale of the catastrophe. Thousands of people remain unaccounted for, especially in remote Himalayan villages, and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has warned that the death toll could rise to more than 10,000 people.
Aid efforts are still ongoing in the nation’s capital. On Tuesday heavy rains hampered the recovery effort in city of Kathmandu. The country’s Armed Police Force (APF) is now being assisted by teams from both China and India. APF officers are concerned that if bodies of the deceased are not recovered in time from the collapsed buildings that can be seen all over the historic city, an epidemic will break out in the city, putting even more lives at risk. “We are working as fast as we can and our response teams are moving from place to place but there is still a lot of work to do. Besides recovering the bodies, we believe that there may still be some survivors buried under all that rubble,” says one APF commander. The United Nations estimates that eight million people in 39 districts across Nepal have been affected by the devastating earthquake, more than a quarter of the nation’s population.
When addressing the nation to announce three days of mourning for the victims of the tragic disaster Prime Minister Sushil Koirala stated that his government was according top priority to rescue and search for the missing, and provided much needed medical treatment of the injured. He also promised that the nation would rebuild the historical, cultural, archaeological and religious monuments destroyed in the devastating earthquake.
For more information please see:
BBC News – Nepal Earthquake: Official Mourning Declared For Victims – 28 April 2015
CNN International – Nepal Earthquake: Death Toll Passes 4,600 As Rescuers Face Challenges – 28 April 2015
The Guardian – The Guardian’s View on the Earthquake in Nepal: It Will Be a Long Road Back – 28 April 2015
The Hindu – Quake Death Toll Could Reach 10,000, Says Nepal Prime Minister – 28 April 2015