Russia: Safeguard freedom of expression and the work of human rights defenders in Russia
In October 2006, the court of Nizhnii Novgorod closed the Russian -Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS). The court verdict appeared to be the latest move in a carefully calculated strategy to get rid of the organization that has been so outspoken on behalf of victims of human rights violations in Chechnya. The organization has appealed against this verdict and, on 23 January, the Russian Supreme Court will take its decision on this appeal. If the hearing upholds the previous decision to close the RCFS, it will constitute another serious blow to freedom of expression and the work of human rights defenders in Russia.