Russia: Prominent activist is facing prison and severe restrictions for participating in peaceful protests

Responding to the news that prominent Russian opposition political activist Yulia Galiamina has been charged over her involvement in peaceful protests and could be jailed and banned from running for office for up to five years, Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher, said:

“The charges against Yulia Galiamina are a travesty and amount to using the justice system to criminalize peaceful protests. They have charged her under a draconian law which expressly contradicts Russia’s international human rights obligations and are seeking to bar her from participating in elections.

The charges against Yulia Galiamina are a travesty and amount to using the justice system to criminalize peaceful protests. They have charged her under a draconian law which expressly contradicts Russia’s international human rights obligations and are seeking to bar her from participating in elections
Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International's Russia Researcher

“This persecution of a well-known opposition politician simply for exercising her human rights is appalling and reprehensible. By silencing a major dissenting voice and threatening to ban her political activities, the Russian authorities have revealed their true motivations for cracking down on protests.

“In May 2020, the Russian parliament unexpectedly and quietly increased the penalties under Article 212.1 for repeatedly violating the public gatherings law. This is a tool for crushing opposition and criticism, and Yulia Galiamina could face years in prison if convicted.

“We demand that the Russian authorities repeal Article 212.1 and stop using repressive laws to stifle dissent and intimidate political opponents. All charges against Yulia Galiamina must be immediately dropped. Everyone prosecuted solely for participating in public gatherings should have access to justice and effective remedies including adequate compensation.”

“The authorities must allow everyone to freely exercise their human rights including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Background

On 31 July, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation brought charges against Yulia Galiamina, a prominent opposition figure and municipal deputy in Moscow, under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code (“repeated violation of the established procedure of organizing or holding public events”). Galiamina is accused of participating in several protests, including a march against the recently adopted amendments to the Russian constitution on 15 July, and protests against electoral violations in Moscow in the summer of 2019. All of these rallies were peaceful, but were dispersed by the police, often with excessive force.