Newsletters / Weekly Human Rights Report

Hello everyone!

We’ve had an exceptionally busy week, and we’d like to let you know what we’ve been up to.

On Monday June 12 around 1700 Russian citizens were detained across the country for their participation in anti-corruption demonstrations.  The primarily young participants, who were waving Russian flags on a Russian national holiday, and hoped to have their say on the future of their country, were violently dispersed by heavily armoured police units, and many were beaten before they were detained.


On Marsovo Pole, the Hyde Park of St. Petersburg, one of the largest demonstrations in the city’s recent history took place.  Those who gathered, mainly young people waving Russian flags, were violently dispersed by police officers who immediately surrounded the demonstrators.  The police detained over 560 participants, who were then distributed across the city’s various police stations in order to more efficiently register and process punishments, a lesson no doubt learned after over 1000 were detained on March 26.

People were detained and arrested indiscriminately.  Frunzenskiy Court arrested a girl and her mother, who asked the police not to take her daughter alone.  The court’s solution was to give the mother a ten-day jail sentence too.  Another girl was brought before a court hearing at 5 am after two days in arbitrary detention where she asked for the hearing to be re-scheduled as she was not able to defend herself.  The judge answered that she should have organised access to a lawyer earlier, and the girl was given a sentence.

Regardless of the number of arrests, Open Russia has entered collaboration with the Navalny team and many other friends and colleagues who are working to provide legal assistance to all of those who were detained as a result of the June 12 demonstrations.  Together we are seeking lawyers, speaking to those who were detained and are defending their rights.  Our lawyers will be appealing all sentences that are handed out.

At least 90 of the 560 have received administrative sentences (up to 30 days in prison), 74 of whom received a five-day sentence or higher.  We managed to get help to almost everyone, and provided food and water to those who found themselves in arbitrary detention, as well as gave consultations and sent lawyers to represent them.  Over 300 people passed their first hearing with our help, and to date we have filed appeals for 74 sentences.

Individuals, groups and movements from across the country worked together to provide the correct support to the hundreds of people, many of them merely teenagers, who found themselves on the wrong end of the authorities who do not want the public to speak out.

All of this was possible due to the kindness and generosity of the public not only in Russia, but across the world, who have come together to support the rights of Russian citizens who face harsh punishments for openly expressing their opinions.  The Open Russia Human Rights team runs exclusively on donations, and so your support is vital to continuing our work in defending the rights of Russian citizens against those in power who wish to silence them.