Dialogue with High Commissioner. Protection of Russians abroad

30 August 2017
Dialogue with High Commissioner. Protection of Russians abroad

Against the background of the current political climate, the number of cases of Russian citizens’ detention in the West have increased. Almost every month news agencies report the arrest of another Russian. Programmers, entrepreneurs, pilots get involved. So, at all on hearing of cases of But, Yaroshenko, Lisov, Nikulin — the list counts already approximately 200 names…

Russia and Armenia are not just longterm allies. Our political, military, cultural, scientific, and simply interethnic brotherhood is not one hundred years old.

I had the opportunity to see this during my visit to Armenia, during meetings with the President of the Republic, with the Human Rights Defender (this post is so called in Armenia), with many other citizens of a friendly country in Transcaucasia.

That’s why the deputy’s request about the application of the citizen S., in which she asked to help her son, worried me so much.

In the application, the woman told that her son v. is an engineer, a specialist in the field of communications, who successfully worked not only at home, but also abroad in Belarus and Armenia. In May 2014, he was suddenly detained at the Minsk airport. As it revealed later, the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia put him on the international wanted list for economic reasons. Six months later, the Belarusian authorities handed him over to the Armenian security service forces, and only a year later the case was referred to the court. During this time, only 19 court hearings were held (out of appointed 48) lasting no more than one and a half hours each. Moreover, according to S., «some materials of the case, which could prove the innocence of his son, were not available to the defense side after the investigation was completed… <…> There were violations of the right to familiarize with judicial decisions in native language".

Now v. is kept in the penitentiary institution "Nubarashen". According to the mother, the detention conditions are awful: there were 15 prisoners in a tiny ward designed for 11 people without sunlight and ventilation. Food and sleep — in turn, water supply — 2 times a day for a short time. The prisoner is prohibited to have walks and long visits with families.

All petitions for changing the pre-trial restraint to an undertaking not to leave, even under the guarantee of the Russian embassy in Armenia, were rejected. For three years the General’s Office Prosecutor, the National Security Service and the courts of Armenia have ignored diplomatic notes and petitions of our embassy and other interested parties. As S. writes, "the conversation of High Commissioner for Human Rights Moskalkova T.N. with President S. Sargsyan helped speed up the trial, but not for long." Desperate of obtaininng justice in a friendly state, the prisoner and his relatives have already filed two complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. Two more — "v. against the Republic of Armenia" have already been delivered to Strasbourg.

It is difficult for me to judge the degree of culpability of v. without careful examination of the investigation documents, moreover, it is beyond the competence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation. However, I can not help saying: the conditions under which a Russian citizen is kept, and the fact that he has been waiting for the court in prison for three years, otherwise it would be impossible to name it as a blatant violation of human rights.

Politicians know: by the way a state respects the citizens’ rights violations, including abroad, one can judge its strength and the degree of influence in the world. «While staying abroad, Russian citizens are under the protection and patronage of the Russian Federation," part 2 of Article 61 of the Constitution proclaims. In addition, Russia and Armenia signed and ratified the «Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms», which establishes inalienable rights and freedoms for everyone and obliges states to guarantee these rights to everyone who is under their jurisdiction. In this case we are talking about the usurped rights of a Russian citizen.

"Vladimir needs protection of Russia!" — with these words, S. asked me for help.

On August 22 I received a message from S., which contains good news: "Good evening! Yesterday, the judge changed the measure of restraint on bail. Today v. came from Nubarashen.

Many thanks to Tatiana Nikolaevna! I think that without your participation it was not done". 

While we all — Russians, Armenians, representatives of any peoples and nationalities — remember justice and mercy, whatever happens, we will always respect each other. We will understand and help.

As remarkably said Immanuel Kant: "Should justice completely disappear, no human life on earth would be worth living".

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