The proceedings against picketers detained on 26 June in Nizhny Novgorod during the picket against tortures continue.
Today the peace justice of sub-district 4 of the Nizhegorodsky district of Nizhny Novgorod held the last detainee administratively liable for participating in the picket devoted to the International Day in Support of Victims of Tortures.
You may remember that on 26 June 2009 the Committee against Torture organized picketing in Teatralnaya square (Bolshaya Pokrovskaya street). Among the participants there were victims of unlawful violence who wanted to support the Committee.
The Committee had failed to get an approval for the picket from the local administration. When the picket started a law enforcement agent gave several public reproofs and after that started detaining the picketers. The police did not detain the organizers, but only those who helped to hold the banners.
All in all 5 people were detained and taken to the Nizhegorodsky district Directorate of the Interior. The banners were withdrawn. One of the picket organizers, Olga Sadovskaya, arrived in the Nizhegorodsky district Directorate of the Interior voluntarily.
Peace justice Akimova’s decisions held picketers administratively liable under p.1 and 2 art. 20.2 of the RF Administrative Code.
Lawyers of the Committee against Torture intend to appeal against the decisions in the nearest future because they contradict the Russian Federation law and the principles of any sound democracy.
The refusal of the city administration (signed by deputy administration head Tatyana Bespalova) to “approve” the place of picketing is a plain breach of the Constitution, namely, article 31 stating that “Russian Federation citizens have the right to hold peaceful assemblies without weapon, organize meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets.”
Naturally, the question arises – why did Ms. Bespalova fail to study this constitutional article before issuing an unlawful and unmotivated decision?
Besides basic legal illiteracy, the deputy administration head demonstrated blatant non-professionalism. The refusal to authorize the picket was motivated by the statement that it was not possible to ensure the picketers’ safety in Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street. Here Ms. Bespalova referred to some analysis conducted by the regional Directorate of the Interior.
However, if Ms. Bespalova is in possession of data proving that regional law enforcement bodies are not capable of protecting two dozens of peaceful picketers, maybe it would be more reasonable for her to challenge the competence of the Directorate of the Interior instead of prohibiting the picket?
Of the Interregional Committee against Torture
The project is supported by the European Commission. The content of this publication is the responsibility of INGO “Committee against Torture” and does not reflect the European Union’s position.