Over the year, the number of political prisoners in Russia has increased from 305 to 362
On 30 October, the day of commemoration of the victims of political repression, Memorial Human Rights Centre publishes fresh lists of political prisoners. Today, there are 362 names in these obviously incomplete lists. A year ago, they included the names of 305 individuals. The real number of political prisoners and other persons imprisoned for political reasons is undoubtedly significantly higher.
How have the numbers changed?
The lists of political prisoners published by Memorial Human Rights Centre on 30 October 2019 contained the names of 252 individuals imprisoned in connection with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion or religious affiliation, and 53 people imprisoned for other political reasons.
A year later, on 30 October 2020, there are 362 people in our lists: 297 of them are imprisoned in connection with the exercise of the right to freedom of religion or religious affiliation (see the list), 65 — for other political reasons (see the list).
What has happened to those in the religious list?
Over the past year, convicted Muslims Sukhrab Kaltuyev, Ziyavdin Dapayev, Aivar Khabibullin, Artur Maslakov and Magomednabi Magomedov have been released from prison. At the same time, we have added in the lists the names of the defendants in cases of involvement in the banned At-Takfir wal-Hijrah Shamil Fataliev and Bagavudin Omarov, as well as Yevgeny Kim, persecuted in connection with his involvement in the Nurjular religious association banned in Russia.
Rustem Vaitov, Nuri Primov, Ferat Sayfullayev, Azat Khasanov, Ilyas Kagirov, Vilyur Baysuakov, Almaz Karimov, Airat Mustayev, Yevgeny Kulagin, Shamil Khusniyarov, Gazim Kutluyarov, and Ruslan Asylov, convicted on charges of involvement in the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami have been released after serving their sentence in prison. The Crimean blogger Nariman Memedeminov convicted of publishing videos about Hizb ut-Tahrir events on the peninsula was released as well.
At the same time, over the past year, we have included in the lists the names of another 51 individuals persecuted for involvement in this organization:
The followers of the St. Petersburg Church of Scientology — Ivan Matsitsky, Anastasia Terentyeva, Konstantsia Yesaulkova, and Sakhib Aliev — were released from pre-trial detention centres.
The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses has continued. Although over the past year the names of 39 people have disappeared from our lists as they were released from prison, given suspended sentences or fines — over the same period we recognised another 56 Jehovah’s Witnesses as political prisoners.
What has changed in the general list?
Over the past year, seven defendants in the Moscow case — Yegor Zhukov, Vladimir Yemelyanov, Aleksandr Mylnikov, Sergei Fomin, Samariddin Radzhabov, Andrei Barshai and Nikita Chirtsov, as well as Vyacheslav Shatrovsky, a defendant in the Artpodgotovka case, have been released from pre-trial detention centres and prisons. Scientists Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Vladimir Lapygin, convicted for treason, were released as well. Reutov activist Yevgeny Kurakin was released from house arrest under the written undertaking not to leave his place of residence. Defendants in the New Greatness case Maria Dubovik, Anna Pavlikova, Dmitry Poletayev and Maksim Roshchin received suspended sentences.
For a short time, our lists included the names of LGBT activist from Komsomolsk-on-Amur Yulia Tsvetkova and shaman from Yakutsk Aleksandr Gabyshev.
At the same time, we have recognized as political prisoners the defendants in the Network case Maksim Ivankin, Mikhail Kulkov, Vasily Kuksov, Dmitry Pchelintsev, Arman Sagynbayev, Andrei Chernov, Ilya Shakursky and Igor Shishkin, the defendants in the Moscow ‘mass riots’ case Yegor Lesnykh, Maksim Martintsov, Pavel Novikov, and Sergei Surovtsev and defendants in the case of the Ingush opposition Bagaudin Khautiev and Magomed Khamkhoyev.
Our lists have included the names of Vladislav Sinitsa, Mark Galperin, Nikolai Platoshkin, Aitakhadzhi Khalimov, Ivan Lyubshin, Darya Polyudova, Aleksandr Shabarchin and Sergei Lavrov, persecuted in connection to the exercise of the right to free speech on the Internet.
In addition, we have recognized as political prisoners Karina Tsurkan and Oleksandr Marchenko, charged with espionage, Vladimir Domnin, accused of fighting in Donbass on the Ukrainian side, Aleksandr Atamanov, accused of recruiting for the Right Sector, banned in Russia, and Aleksei Bessarabov and Vladimir Dudka, convicted for preparing acts of sabotage on behalf of Ukraine.
The names of many people who are likely to be political prisoners, imprisoned or convicted since the publication of the previous lists, have not been included in our lists, as we have been collecting information and studying the circumstances of their persecution.
We remind you that the lists of political prisoners compiled by Memorial Human Rights Centre are only a minimal estimate of the number of political prisoners in modern Russia.
We call on all not indifferent to the plight of the victims of political repression to show solidarity them and participate in actions in support of political prisoners, disseminate information about them, provide material assistance and write letters to them.
Freedom to political prisoners!