HRC questions qualification of Moscow investigators in rally case

HRC questions qualification of Moscow investigators in rally case
HRC head Mikhail Fedotov

Mikhail Fedotov asked the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to review the legality of the criminal prosecution of the July 27 protesters.

Mikhail Fedotov, the Chairman of the Human Rights Council (HRC) under the President of the Russian Federation, asked the Prosecutor General of Russia, Yuri Chaika, to review the legality of the criminal case on the riots. In his appeal, Fedotov recalled that Russians have the right, according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, to march peacefully and go on rallies, as well as criticize the authorities and their acts.

“The analysis of information obtained both during personal observation and monitoring of information resources, did not reveal any evidence that the unauthorized march along the central streets of Moscow on July 27, 2019 was accompanied by a massive use of violence by participants in the public event,” said the HRC.

The Council did not find traces of violence, arsons, destruction of property, use of weapons by the participants of the public event, use of explosive devices, poisonous or other substances. There were reportedly 12 injured persons and two employees of the Russian Guard, but it is not established as to who harmed them.

For comparison, the HRC recalled the June 9, 2002 riots during which football fans broke windows with bottles, turned over and burned cars throughout their movement to Lubyanka Square. The incident left 79 people injured; 49 of them, including 16 police officers, were hospitalized; one person died from stab wounds.

In addition, the HRC recalled the verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights, under which the state must be tolerant of peaceful assemblies, when they may interfere with the everyday life, including obstruction of street traffic, because otherwise freedom of assembly would lose its essence.

“A number of members of the Council express reasonable doubts that the procedural audit that preceded the decision to initiate the criminal case (on mass riots) was carried out professionally or thoroughly,” the HRC concludes.

On July 27, the protesters demanded the admission of a series of independent candidates to the Moscow City Duma election after those candidates had been denied registration. More than a thousand people were detained at the uncoordinated rally, according to the HRC - 1,431 citizens. 13 people became defendants in the criminal case.

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