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YABLOKOs environmentalist Suren Gazaryan faces several years of imprisonment due to a
new case launched against him

North Caucasus Environmental Watch. Press Release

August 30, 2012

Russian authorities have launched a new criminal probe against environmental activist Suren Gazaryan after he led an inspection of a public shore near what we believe is President Vladimir Putin's Black Sea dacha for violations. The proceedings are an attempt to stop the activist's efforts to expose illegal palaces built on public funds or land and cutting off access to a public shore.

The case against the Krasnodar activist was fabricated based on false accusations by the security guards at the dacha that Gazaryan had allegedly threatened them with murder.

Suren Gazaryan and several other activists were on a Black Sea public shore on August 2 inspecting what turned out to be an illegal pier being constructed in secret next to what we believe is President Vladimir Putin's dacha in the Gelendzhik area.

Previously activists have been detained near the dacha on several occasions, including by Russia's secret service officers whose job it is to guard Russia's top rulers.

According to the police decree launching the latest case, Gazaryan "began to threaten (guard) Pirogov with murder while swinging at him with a rock, thereby exerting a frightening psychological pressure on him" while on the August 2 inspection.

Gazaryan is now facing a probe into alleged threat of murder, article 119 of the Russian criminal code, which can result in up to two years in jail.

The fabrication of this case is a clear attempt to jail and silence Gazaryan, who has already been convicted of hooliganism on equally ridiculous grounds after inspecting an illegal fence around the dacha of Governor Alexander Tkachyov and given a three-year suspended sentence.

Even if the latest probe does not result with incarceration, the judge may convert the suspended sentence into a real jail term, punishing the activist for exposing illegal lavish palaces and total disregard for law by Russia's rulers.

What really happened on August 2 was that several guards, who are armed and have no right to harass people on public land that must be accessible by law, were the ones picking a fight with activists, threatening them and pushing them to leave the area.

The shore where the incident occurred is completely open to access and there are no signs indicating that the land is guarded by anybody's private militia.

The latest probe is based entirely on false accusations of the security guards, just like in previous cases against activists, including administrative arrests that lasted up to 15 days. In court, their testimonies are given full credit while other witnesses are rejected.

Illegal construction of private mansions by powerful men who claim to be Russia's public servants is rampant in the environmentally sensitive Black Sea region. Construction frequently occurs in state protected parks and public forests that must be open for access to all citizens by law.

Suren Gazaryan is required by police to attend a session of questioning regarding the alleged death threat on September 4. He can be kept in custody before trial which has turned into a common practice for persecution of Russian opposition activists.

See also:

Protection of Environment

Pickets in support of Gazaryan and Dutlov take part in different Russian cities. Press Release, March 17, 2012

Environmentalist Suren Gazaryan and lawyer Viktor Dutlov get ten days of imprisonment on a framed-up case. Press Release, March 14, 2012

Charges brought against Eugeny Vitishko, YABLOKO candidate to the State Duma

YABLOKO campaign unfairly targeted

Yabloko demands investigation of unlawful detention of its activists

Press conference Black Sea Palaces and Their Hosts

Are Prisoners of Conscience Only in Moscow?


North Caucasus Environmental Watch. Press Release

August 30, 2012

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