Russia: Officials and police humiliate and mistreat hundreds of detained peaceful protesters

Olga Polyakova, founder of the restaurant day in St. Petersburg, social entrepreneur and one of the peaceful protestors on anti-corruption rallies in St. Petersburg

Hundreds of peaceful protestors detained at anti-corruption rallies in Russia. Demonstrators have been subjected to cruel and degrading treatment in police detention on anti-corruption protest in Russian cities on June 12. ‘It appears the authorities in Russia wanted to send a further message by making these detentions slow, humiliating and painful’, said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International (AI).

According to OVD statistics alone in Moscow and St Petersburg more than thousand peaceful protesters were detained and then locked up in police stations overnight, in plainly degrading conditions, crowded cells with little or no food, bedding or easy access to sanitation. Among them Olga Polyakova, one of the peaceful protestors on June 12 in St. Petersburg. Today on 20 June 2017 12 o’clock the St Petersburg City Court renegotiated the appeal against the conviction for Olga´s participation in the anti-corruption demonstration. Her ‘trial’ lasted only for a few minutes and Olga was charged by police and sentenced to twelve days imprisonment.


“It appears the authorities in Russia wanted to send a further message by making these detentions slow, humiliating and painful.” — Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International

Olga and her defence lawyers Valya Frolova and Olia Karacheva presented their arguments referring to numerous violations of her rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights committed by the riot police and the first-instance court while apprehending, detaining and convicting Olga. However, the judge decided to uphold the descision without an comprehensible explanation that will follow later according to Sergey Golubok, a St Petersburg-based lawyer involved and familiar with many similar cases.

More people have put attention to the case of Olga especially after her good friend Kirill Moizik wrote a blog post. The article and Olga’s story went viral in the Runet: it was liked and shared multiple times by other people in social networks like Facebook, VKontakte, Twitter and Co. Kirill describes his friend Olga as “a wonderful and exceptional person”. 
 
Her friend Kirill writes in the blog post that “a few years ago she (Olga) brought Restaurant Day to Russia. Restaurant Day is a food carnival when anyone can open a restaurant. It is incredible fun. People open a restaurant for a day in their homes, host neighbors, friends or just random people passing by”.

According to Goblubok, other Russian lawyers and international human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch (HRW) and AI Russian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all peaceful protesters detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly during anti-corruption rallies.

After 12 days in prison, Olga Polyakova should be released this Saturday 24 June according to her defenders Her family, friends, flatmates and many other people supporting her impatiently awaiting.

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