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Political prisoners in the Russian Federation

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15049 | 28 January 2020

Mr Eerik-Niiles KROSS, Estonia, ALDE ; Ms Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr David BAKRADZE, Georgia, EPP/CD ; Ms Maryna BARDINA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Olivier BECHT, France, ALDE ; Mr Goran BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Croatia, ALDE ; Mr Jokin BILDARRATZ, Spain, ALDE ; Lord David BLENCATHRA, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Mr Iulian BULAI, Romania, ALDE ; Ms Yolaine de COURSON, France, ALDE ; Sir Roger GALE, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Ms Kamila GASIUK-PIHOWICZ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Marija GOLUBEVA, Latvia, ALDE ; Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO, Ukraine, EC/DA ; Mr Alfred HEER, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Christoph HOFFMANN, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Michael Aastrup JENSEN, Denmark, ALDE ; Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI, Georgia, EPP/CD ; Mr Oleksandr KOVALCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Konstantin KUHLE, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Kakhaber KUTCHAVA, Georgia, SOC ; Ms Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr Michael LINK, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Jacques MAIRE, France, ALDE ; Mr Oleksandr MEREZHKO, Ukraine, SOC ; Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Kathrine OLLDAG, Denmark, ALDE ; Ms Yuliia OVCHYNNYKOVA, Ukraine, ALDE ; Ms Linda OZOLA, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Martin POLIAČIK, Slovak Republic, ALDE ; Ms Isabelle RAUCH, France, ALDE ; Mr Oleksandr SKICHKO, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Krzysztof ŚMISZEK, Poland, SOC ; Mr Serhii SOBOLEV, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Raivo TAMM, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Ms Lesia VASYLENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Sergiy VLASENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Martine WONNER, France, ALDE ; Ms Yelyzaveta YASKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD

Among the rights guaranteed to citizens of Council of Europe member States is “the right to liberty and security” as provided by Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In Resolution 1900 (2012) on The definition of political prisoner, the Parliamentary Assembly defined anyone whose “detention has been imposed in violation of one of the fundamental guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols” or “is the result of proceedings which were clearly unfair and this appears to be connected with political motives of the authorities” as a “political prisoner”.

Based on these criteria, the Memorial Human Rights Centre, one of the Russian Federation’s most respected non-governmental organisations, estimates that there are currently more than 300 political prisoners in the Russian Federation. They include journalists, civil society activists, human rights advocates, participants in peaceful demonstrations, adherents of prohibited religious groups and members of “undesirable” organisations. Their incarceration violates not only the Russian Federation’s general obligations under its Council of Europe membership, but also specific rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. According to Memorial, since 2015 the number of political prisoners in the Russian Federation has increased six-fold.

The time has come for the Assembly to examine the growing crisis with politically motivated imprisonments in the Russian Federation and to institute a meaningful oversight by appointing a rapporteur with the mandate to prepare a report on this issue.