Prominent rights advocate penalized in dubious proceedings


And we were not even in the courtroom

SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 21 February 2017


The SOVA center was fined for the fact that it had not entered itself into the register of "foreign agents" before this was done on 30 December 2016 by the Ministry of Justice. Previously, on 12 January, a protocol was drawn up for the supposed occurrence of a violation of part 1 of article 19 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law.


The session was supposed to begin on the second floor of the Basman court at 15.00.  Ten minutes before, representatives of SOVA, including the center's director, Alexander Verkhovsky, and an attorney of "Public Verdict," Svetlana Toreeva, and two lawyers of the Ministry of Justice, gathered in front of the office of Judge N.N. Dudar (notorious for several prominent cases; for example she issued a sentence to Ildar Dadin). And there on the second floor an evacuation drill was announced, and everybody who was in the corridor was ordered to leave for the first floor, and this was done.


When, closer to 16.00, people were permitted on the second floor again, Judge Dudar was continuing to review some criminal case. When it was concluded, and representatives of SOVA and the Ministry of Justice entered the courtroom, they were presented a decision that was already made. The court secretary declared that the sides had not appeared, although supposedly the bailiffs had summoned all of them, and thus the decision was issued in the absence of the defendant. It should be noted that not only we did not hear the summons but also the lawyers of the Ministry of Justice, who were, it seems, no less surprised than ours.


We very much doubt that they tried in good faith to invite us into the courtroom. And we certainly do not agree with the substance of the decision itself, since we are convinced, as previously, that our organization is not a "foreign agent." We will appeal the decision of the Basman court in the Moscow city court. (tr. by PDS, posted 22 February 2017)

Background article:
Essential RRN source and religious rights watchdog put on black list
January 1, 2017

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