02 December 2019, 16:52

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 25-December 1, 2019

Start of the trial in a case on the killings of Dagestanis in Chechnya; protests in Tbilisi; ECtHR's decision on the communication of a complaint filed by Maxim Lapunov about torture in Chechnya, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 25-December 1, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Protest actions against corruption in medicine in Southern Russia

On November 30, residents of Southern Russia supported the all-Russian campaign "For decent medicine for all citizens of the Russian Federation", which was conducted by the "Alliance of Doctors" Trade Union. In Volgograd, participants of the rally "Anticapitalism" demanded lower salaries for MPs and complained about unfair remunerations for doctors. In Sochi, the City Mayoralty refused to sanction a rally of medical officers, and they decided to hold solos pickets, but law enforcers disrupted their protest actions.

Start of trial in case on killings of Dagestanis in Chechnya

On November 26, the Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya began consideration of a case of eight Dagestani residents killed by law enforcers in Chechnya. According to their relatives, the natives of Dagestan were kidnapped in late September-early October 2016 and then killed. The law enforcers announced that the suspects were plotting a terror act and were killed in a shootout. In October, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) filed a complaint about an ineffective investigation into the case, violation of the right to life and the prohibition of torture. Human rights defenders did not succeed in seeking the consideration of the case in Dagestan. At the first court session, four Chechen policemen recognized as victims in the case said they did not remember the details of the shootout. Advocates do not believe that any fight took place at all.

Tbilisi protests and negotiations on changes in electoral system of Georgia

In Tbilisi, the opposition continued protest actions with a demand to hold early elections on a proportional basis. On November 25, the protesters held a mass march in front of the parliament building. Special forces fighters used water cannons to push the protestors away from the parliament building, and as a result, two protesters and a journalist were injured. The activists indicated that they had partially achieved their goal, since a parliamentary meeting was cancelled on November 27. However, on November 28, MPs managed to get into the parliament building and hold a meeting after the police had erected fences around the building. On November 29, the activists held a march in front of the National Library, during which clashes occurred between the protestors and the police. Several people were detained; and they were subjected to arrests and fines. On November 30, the ruling "Georgian Dream-Democratic Movement" Party held its first negotiations with the opposition concerning changes in the electoral system, but the parties did not find a compromise, and the opposition threatened to hold new protest actions.

ECtHR's decision on communication of complaint filed by Maxim Lapunov about torture in Chechnya

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) communicated a complaint filed by Maxim Lapunov about torture in Chechnya related to his sexual orientation. The Russian authorities are to submit their position to the ECtHR by March 12, 2020, the Committee against Torture (CaT) reports. The complaint filed in May was accepted within a record short time. Let us remind you that in October 2017, Maxim Lapunov claimed that he was detained in Chechnya on suspicion of homosexuality and spent 12 days in a basement of the criminal investigation department, where he was subjected to beatings. Later, Maxim Lapunov left Russia because of threats. In Russia, the authorities do not investigate the case on torture of Maxim Lapunov in Chechnya, but the communication of his complaint by the Strasbourg Court should launch the process, advocate Olga Sadovskaya believes.

Cancellation of decision to build chemical plant in Caucasian Mineralnye Vody

On November 25, residents of Lermontov, dissatisfied with the authorities' plans to build a nitrocellulose plant in the city, began collecting signatures under a petition to retract the construction decision. According to activists, they were ready for various types of protests. The chemical plant may question the resort status of the Caucasian Mineralnye Vody region, where the city of Lermontov is located, ecologists suggest. The dissatisfaction of the city residents influenced the investor's decision to transfer the construction of the plant to another region, the press service of the "Khiminvest" Company reported.

Detention of leaders of Ministry of Public Health for Rostov Region

On November 28, sources from the law enforcement bodies reported about a detention of Tatiana Bykovskaya, Minister of Public Health for the Rostov Region, and several of her subordinates in a case on abuse of power. According to investigators, in the period from September 2017 to January 2018, Tatiana Bykovskaya lobbied for interests of a company to conclude contracts with the Ministry of Public Health for the disposal and disinfection of medical waste.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 2, 2019 at 09:15 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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