Accessibility links

Breaking News


A Russian national detained in April in Ukraine's Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula on espionage charges has been transferred to Moscow.

The Moscow Lefortovo district court on June 21 said that Yevgeny Petrushin's pretrial detention had been extended until September 20 after he was transferred from Crimea to the Russian capital last week.

According to the court, Petrushin was arrested on April 21 in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

The Lenin district court in the city of Sevastopol said on April 22 that "a Russian citizen born in 1998" suspected of high treason had been placed under pretrial arrest until at least June 19. The name of the suspect was not disclosed at the time.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said then that its officers had detained a person who "passed classified information about Russia's Black Sea Fleet to Ukrainian military intelligence."

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, sending in troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries after Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted amid a wave of public protests.

Since then, Russia has arrested dozens of people in Crimea on charges including extremism, terrorism, and espionage.

Rights groups have said that after imposing its control over the peninsula, Moscow aggressively moved to prosecute Ukrainian activists and anyone who questions the annexation.

Russia also backs separatists in a war against Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 13,200 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax
Kazakh Hunger Strikers Demand Lifting Of Opposition Party Ban
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:00:43 0:00

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Several Kazakh activists have launched a hunger strike, demanding the cancellation of a court decision to ban the opposition Koshe (Street) party.

Several residents of the Central Asian nation's largest city, Almaty, started the hunger strike on June 20 in front of the Esil district court, which banned the party a year ago.

The protesters are demanding the ban be legally assessed and cancelled, as well as the release and exoneration of all people sentenced for taking part in the activities of the Koshe party.

"Dozens of people were sentenced. About 20 have been in custody for more than 10 months now, many under house arrest. Lawmakers must assess the court's decision and the situation," one of the hunger strikers, Meirkhan Abdimanapov, told RFE/RL on June 21.

The activists say they will not stop the hunger strike until the decision to label the party extremist is reversed.

Kazakhstan's courts have issued prison sentences or parole-like sentences to several activists in recent months for their support or involvement in the activities of the Koshe party and its associate Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement. Other activists also have spent time in jail for taking part in unsanctioned rallies that were organized by the two groups.

The DVK is led by Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank and an outspoken critic of the Kazakh government.

Kazakh authorities banned the DVK as an extremist group in March 2018.

Human rights groups say Kazakhstan’s law on public gatherings contradicts international standards.

The law requires rally organizers to obtain preliminary permission from authorities. It also calls for the prosecution of those who organize or participate in unsanctioned rallies -- despite constitutional guarantees stating that citizens have the right to freely assemble.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More