Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Russian human rights activist attacked

A leading Russian human rights activist was attacked on the street on July 1, 2014, in Voronzeh, southern Russia. Police should immediately open a thorough investigation into the assault on Andrey Yurov, one of several incidents in which unidentified assailants have recently attacked or harassed activists in various Russian regions.

Two men whom he did not know attacked Yurov on the street as he was speaking on a phone. Yurov is a member of Russia’s presidential human rights council, and is honorary president of the Youth Human Rights Movement in Voronezh. He has actively monitored developments in Ukraine for the past seven months, and is a member of a human rights monitoring mission in Crimea. A large poster threatening a group of local human rights activists appeared in Voronzeh five days before the assault.

“Law enforcement should seriously examine all possible theories behind the attack, including the possibility that Yurov was targeted for his legitimate human rights work in Russia and Crimea,” saidTanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Human rights defenders shouldn’t face retaliation for their work, and failure to investigate could send a dangerous message that would make other rights defenders vulnerable to attack.”

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