UN Human Rights Committee confirmed violation of basic rights during the arrest of ex-employee of ADC “Memorial” Philipp Kostenko

UN Human Rights Committee issued its ruling on the legal claim of Philipp Kostenko, stating that the Russian Federation had violated Articles 14 (right to fair trial) and 19 (right to free speech) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The claimant, Philipp Kostenko, was an employee of Anti-Discrimination Center “Memorial” back in 2011 and in December that year he was subjected to political repressions. In accordance with the agreement between ADC “Memorial” and lawyers Sergey Golubok and Olga Tseytlina a legal claim was made to the UN Human Rights Committee on his behalf.

The Committee made a principal conclusion that the same legal guarantees were applicable to a legal case on administrative offense as on a criminal offense if the prosecuted person faced an arrest. In this respect the Committee has acknowledged that the refusal of the court to satisfy the attorney’s demand to cross-examine in court key witnesses for the prosecution, who had compiled police protocols about the alleged offense, was a violation.

Philipp Kostenko had previously participated in protests, which was the ground for two previous arrests for a total period of 30 days, which were based on false accusations. When Philipp served the first sentence of 15 days he was not released afterwards, but was again sent to court, which ruled that he was to be subjected to another arrest of 15 days based on false accusations. ADC “Memorial” presented a legal appeal concerning violation of Kostenko’s rights and his repeated arrest to the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR), but no ruling on this appeal had been yet made.

UN Human Rights Committee acknowledged that Philipp Kostenko was subjected to unlawful repression based on his activism and his position regarding the unfair results of the December 2011 elections to the Russian State Duma. The Committee has also stressed inadmissibility of arrest for foul speech against a police officer who had refused to deliver food and drinks to Philipp’s acquaintances that had been held in detention. The Committee considered this penalty to be disproportionate compared to the offense.

Text of decision CCPR-C-115-D-2141-2012-English-cln-auv

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