As the immigration regulations in Russia become harsher and the practices of law enforcement agencies are often based on arbitrary interpretation of the rules, we are witnessing more and more absurd cases when people are prosecuted on ridiculous charges. Recently two immigrant workers of the building industry in Saint Petersburg were charged for laying a brick wall themselves while they were “technologists” according to their job description and supposedly were authorized only to watch others laying the bricks.
ADC “Memorial” together with lawyer Olga Tseytlina represented legal interests of Uzbek citizen Mr. Yangibayev and Moldavian citizen Mr. Kazak. Both were judged guilty following an appeal by the procurators that they supposedly had breached the regulations concerning the type of labor that Federal Migration Service (FMS) had authorized them to do – they were registered as “technologists” while they participated in building a brick wall themselves. It seems that the procurators are of the opinion that if a person is a technologist, he is not allowed to touch the bricks himself, he is only authorized to see other people doing the bricklaying. In spite of the absence of legally relevant violations or the proofs that a technologist cannot be physically involved in bricklaying, both immigrant workers were judged guilty by Nevsky district court of Saint Petersburg for violation of Article 18.10 Section 2 of the Code of administrative violations for the Russian Federation and were ruled to pay Rb5000 each with further administrative deportation from the Russian Federation (they were allowed to leave the country by themselves with supervision of the law enforcement officers).
Both court judgments were appealed against, but on September 2, 2014 Saint Petersburg city court ruled to leave earlier court decision concerning Mr. Kazak intact. Mr. Yangibayev faced much stricter treatment: officers of FMS illegally took away his passport, while promising that they would give it back if he would pay the administrative penalty. However, when Mr. Yangibayev paid the penalty and returned for his passport, he was detained.
In spite of the fact that the court ruling dated July 31, 2014 had been appealed against and was not yet legally enforced and the fact that court had ruled that Mr. Yangibayev could leave the country by himself, he was taken into police van and forcefully deported to Uzbekistan before his legal appeal was considered by court.
ADC ”Memorial” considers these actions by the Nevsky district FMS department of Saint Petersburg to be arbitrary and illegal, because in case of Mr. Yangibayev a court ruling, which was not yet been in force, was carried out. Besides that the court ruling itself had been made based only on the testimonies of the procurators, while the position of the legal defense had been ignored and the very fact that a technologist could be involved in bricklaying on the construction site to check the strength and other technical characteristics of the bricks and cement had not been checked.
Such court rulings and actions by the law enforcement agencies only break the rights of qualified immigrant construction workers. These people are being prosecuted in spite of the fact that they had higher qualifications and proper documents regulating their right to work in Russia. Is anybody really interested to have these jobs done by lower qualified workers?