Gernot Erler, Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, issued the following statement today (25 July) on the dismissal of the trial against Valentina Cherevatenko, human rights activist and head of the non-governmental organisation Women of the Don Union:
I welcome the Russian authorities’ dismissal of the trial against renowned civil society activist Valentina Cherevatenko, who was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights in 2016. The German Government has repeatedly lobbied the Russian side on behalf of Valentina Cherevatenko.
The dismissal of the trial is good news for cooperation between our two countries’ civil societies.
On 22 June 2016, criminal proceedings were launched under “foreign agents” legislation (Article 330.1 of the Russian Criminal Code) against Valentina Cherevatenko, head of the NGO Women of the Don Union. The winner of the 2016 Franco-German Prize for Human Rights was accused of having cooperated with a German foundation on one of her projects, without voluntarily registering the Women of the Don Union as a “foreign agent”. If convicted, she would have faced a prison sentence of up to two years. Cherevatenko takes part in the civil society working group of the Petersburg dialogue. A German partner organisation has secured Eastern Partnership funding for a Ukrainian‑Russian dialogue project that the NGO Women of the Don Union is supposed to help implement.