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March 20, 2014

Activists in Samara, Russian Federation, received death threats

Activists in Samara, Russian Federation, received death threats after staging a protest against Russia’s military intervention in Crimea.

Activists in Samara, Russian Federation, received death threats after staging a protest against Russia’s military intervention in Crimea.

On 2 March, Svetlana Chernova, Alexander Lashmankin, Igor Titarenko and several other peace activists took part in a series of single-person pickets, which, under Russian law can be held without a prior permission from the authorities, in the city of Samara, in Russia. Following this, they repeatedly received death threats from anonymous members of an online group which calls itself “Anti-Maydan” (a reference to the recent EuroMaydan protest in Kyiv, Ukraine). The group has been using VKontakte, a Russian equivalent of Facebook, to post photographs of the protestors and asked online users to help identify their names and contact details, and exert “physical and mental” pressure on them. Subsequently, personal details of Svetlana Chernova, Alexander Lashmankin, Igor Titarenko and at least two other participants of the protest were posted online, together with threatening remarks. “Girls tear her bones out,” the post of 4 March said, showing a picture of Svetlana Chernova’s apartment and stating her address.

While the group on VKontakte was closed and the posts removed, threats against the peace activists continued to emerge on other social networks, including the popular LiveJournal blogging website, where a new group called “Anti-Maydan 63” was created. On 12 March, several aggressive men were waiting in front of the block of flats where Alexander Lashmankin lives. A member of “Anti-Maydan” subsequently wrote on LiveJournal that they wanted to have a “conversation to clarify his world-views.” Alexander rushed past the men and managed to reach home safely in this occasion. After this incident, graffiti saying “US-spy” appeared on Alexander Lashmankin’s door. On 15 March a group of aggressive men attacked protestors at another anti-war protest in Samara, shouting “Facists” and other abuse at the peace activists. One of the men violently pulled a banner out of the hands of Igor Titarenko, tearing it to pieces. A police officer who was present at the scene intervened several minutes later and prevented further escalation. Local human rights defenders said both incidents were instigated by anonymous members of the “Anti-Maydan” group. The activists have officially complained to the authorities about the threats they have received. Only Svetlana Chernova has received a response saying her complaint was being referred to the local police.

Please write immediately in Russian or your own language calling on the Russian authorities to:

Launch an immediate, impartial and effective investigation into the death threats and incidents of harassment of the peace activists in Samara;

Ensure the safety of Svetlana Chernova, Alexander Lashmankin and Igor Titarenko and other activists.

PEASE SEND APPEALS BEFOR 30 APRIL 2014 TO:

Head of MVD Directorate

Lt.-Gen. Yuri Sterlikov

Ministry of interior for Samara region

ul. Sokolova, 34

443068 Samara,

Russian Federation

Fax: + 7462 78 22 24

Email: odir63@mail.ru

Salutation: Dear Lieutenant-General

Prosecutor of Samara region

Murat Kabaloev

ul. Chapayevskaya,

Translate from: Belarusian

151 443010 Samara,

Russian Federation

Email: prok@samtel.ru

Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

And copies to

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation

Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika

Prosecutor General’s Office

ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a

125993 Moscow GSP- 3

Russian Federation

Fax: +7 495 987 58 41; +7 495 692 17 25

Salution: Dear Prosecutor General

URGENT ACTION

Peace activists receive death threats

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Since the night of 26 to 27 February, armed men in unidentifiable uniforms took control of the Crimean administration buildings and effectively blocked a number of objects belonging to the Ukrainian military forces.

The interim Ukrainian government accused Russia of military intervention in Crimea, but the Russian authorities denied this and insisted that the armed men were members of local “self-defence forces.” On 1 March, the Russian parliament authorized President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian military forces in Crimea. In the meantime, the Crimean authorities organised a referendum on secession from Ukraine and accession to the Russian Federation, and the relevant agreement has been signed by President Vladimir Putin and.

Several “anti-war” protests took place throughout Russia on 2 March and since then. The Russian authorities reacted by arresting hundreds of protestors in Moscow alone, sentencing some of them to administrative arrest and imposing hefty fines on others (for further information see http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/russia-freedom-expression-falls-victim-dramatic-events-ukraine-s-crimea-201).

Name: Svetlana Chernova (f), Alexander Lashmankin (m), Igor Titarenko (m)

Gender m/f: both

Amnesty Int

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