Solidarity with human rights activist and anti-fascist Konstantin Baranov!

The situation description:

On July 15th Konstantin Baranov started receiving threats addressed to him (in form of messages on his personal page at VKontakte.ru and phone calls). The nature of the threats, Internet-names and information at personal web-pages give every reason to suppose that the authors of the messages adhere to the extreme right views (fascist, neo-Nazi, nationalist and other). On the web-page of one of the VKontakte.ru website users there has been published a message addressed to "all the right activists of Rostov" which proclaimed Konstantin an "enemy of Russia and the right business"; it also contained his name, web-page address, cell-phone number and information about the written request, directed by K. Baranov to the law machinery.

A week before that, on July 9th, Rostov division of the All-Russian Youth Organisation "Young Europe", headed by Konstantin, sent a letter addressed to the Rostov Office of Public Prosecutor with a request to check the work of the music club "Bass Bochka", a place where the concerts of the extreme-right music bands regularly take place, and to warn them about inadmissibility of carrying out extremist activity.

After the phone call to the regional Office of the Public Prosecutor on July 16th, Konstantin found out that the written request was still under consideration and the official responsible for it was on his leave at that moment. The representatives of the Rostov Office of the Public Prosecutor contacted Konstantin on the 21st of July, after the report concerning the existing situation was published on the web-page of the "SOVA" Center for Information and Analysis (http://xeno.sova-center.ru/45A29F2/D480FBC) and some other websites. They informed that the Office of the Public Prosecutor was worried by the situation and they were sure it was impossible that the information leakage came from their office. Nevertheless they could not point out the other possible causes of everything that happened. It is well known that a widespread practice of the offices of public prosecutor is to demonstrate any received appeal to those against whom it is directed. It might lead to a disclosure of an applicant's personal data, which is illegal and particularly dangerous in the case the applicants are human rights defenders and anti-fascists.

On July 28th Konstantin handed in an application to the regional police department and the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Rostov region with an appeal to institute legal proceedings according to art. 119 of Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("Murder or heavy health harm threat") and also to carry out public prosecutor's examination due to the fact of the applicant's personal data disclosure and to engage the guilty party in administrative or disciplinary liability.

In recent years it has become a dangerous tendency in Russia that the human rights defenders and anti-fascists are regularly threatened by the extreme right representatives due to their professional activity in counteraction to discrimination, dissemination of xenophobia and intolerance in Russia. Only throughout the past few years: since January 2009 - the employees of the "SOVA" Center for Information and Analysis (Moscow) Alexander Verkhovsky and Galina Kozhevnikova, since August 2008 - the leader of the Institute of Social Problems "United Europe" (Orel city) Dmitry Krayukhin - have been threatened. Unfortunately, some of the threats turn into actions. In year 2004 a famous anti-fascist and human rights activist Nikolay Girenko was killed at his own home. Thereupon, the public authorities should pay special attention to the appeals of human rights defenders, and also to ensuring safety for human rights defenders and anti-fascists.

Biography

Konstantin Baranov is a participant of the international Youth Human Rights Movement; he has been working in civil and human rights organizations since 2001.

For several years already Konstantin has been carrying out the monitoring of xenophobia and hate crimes in Rostov, organized by the Moscow Helsinki Group jointly with the Youth Human Rights Movement.

Konstantin Baranov is one of the coordinators of the Youth Network against Racism and Intolerance (YNRI). He was one of the initiators and now is the coordinator of the program "Defending the Foreign Students' Rights in Russia" (www.fs.hrworld.ru), which has been implemented by the YNRI since 2005. Owing to this program a great number of foreign students who found themselves in difficult situations (including exposure to discrimination and racist assaults) were able to get help.

What can be done?

We ask you to send a request addressed to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation with the following appeal:

  1. To carry out prosecutor's examination on the fact of the applicant's personal data disclosure and to engage the guilty in disciplinary liability;
  2. To reinforce control for security of personal data of any applicants, in particular indicated in requests coming from human rights activists and anti-fascists and related to the activity of the extreme right organizations and groups;
  3. To organize an explanatory work on this subject for employees of the regional offices of public prosecutor;
  4. To inform the applicant about the decisions taken within statutory time period.

You may find sample text of the appeal here or request it by e-mail: w-case-hrd-kbaranov@yhrm.org.

You should write your name as an applicant (if you send the letter on behalf of the organization - its name, your post and the director's name; it's better to send it on the headed note-paper of the organization), to put the date, to sign your name (for the organization - to seal it as well).

This appeal should then be sent by post:

To the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Chajka Yury Yakovlevich
125993, Moscow, Bolshaya Dmitrovka st., 15a

We kindly ask you to inform us of the letters sent and the answers received using the e-mail:
w-case-hrd-kbaranov@yhrm.org.

Besides, we ask you to disseminate this information with an appeal for support in your region.

Youth Network against Racism and Intolerance
with support of the international program "Solidarity"
of the Youth Human Rights Movement
www.solidarity.hrworld.ru
w-case-hrd-kbaranov@yhrm.org

Aleksandra Nazarova,
Victoria Gromova,
Dmitri Makarov.