Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (27 February) on the release on 22 February of Russian civil rights activist Ildar Dadin by the Russian Supreme Court:
“I was greatly relieved to hear the news that Ildar Dadin’s guilty verdict has been overturned. I hope that this decision will also be interpreted as a message by the judiciary as regards putting an end to the disproportionate action taken by the Russian authorities against the peaceful expression of opinion in the public domain.
Action must urgently be taken to reverse the growing tendency in Russia to block out independent voices from public life. I call on the Russian authorities to protect the right to peaceful demonstration enshrined in the Russian constitution and to bring its laws on the freedom of assembly and the freedom of opinion into line with international human rights standards and apply these accordingly.
At the same time, all accusations of abuse of prisoners must, as a matter of urgency, be comprehensively and independently investigated and those responsible brought to justice. As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia has undertaken to guarantee this.”
Russian citizen Ildar Dadin had repeatedly made public calls for human rights to be preserved, especially the freedom of opinion and the freedom of assembly. When he was sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment in a prison camp at the end of 2015, this was the first time that the Russian judiciary had applied restrictions on the right of assembly introduced in 2014. Whereas violations of the right to demonstrate were previously treated as an administrative offence, a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment may now be handed down in the case of repeated infringements in accordance with Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.
Dadin was found guilty of taking part in several peaceful political demonstrations, which had not been authorised by the authorities, from autumn 2014 onwards, for each of which an administrative penalty had been imposed. Dadin had accused the prison staff of severe maltreatment in 2016.