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How much is the freedom? MBH did not offer

May 31 2006

Most recently, one of the oldest human rights organizations in Russia, celebrates its anniversary - May 12, the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) was 30 years old. Throughout this time, human rights activists, led by Lyudmila Alekseeva, renowned for having defended the interests of various sectors of civil society, regardless of their social and property status. Recently, however, the priorities of human rights defenders began to change. And it is not toward those who really need protection.

Hard to say what influenced the change in policy, MHG, but the slogan "Freedom for political prisoners, among which invariably include Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was perhaps the key to the human rights organization. On the remaining problems of human rights was forgotten.

To the Editor received a letter from the Khakas human rights activist, editor of the online publication "New Focus" Mikhail Afanasyev, one of which was in a very difficult situation. Because the case was taking a very serious turn, Michael asked for help to the Moscow Helsinki Group, but was turned down.

The point is that on 10 March in Khakassia arrested a local human rights activist Alexander Ishchenko, who was charged with a crime, namely the threat of assassination. According to investigators, 21 February 2006 Ishchenko threatened to murder President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Khakassia SV Potapenko, burst into his office and demanding to resolve in his favor under consideration this day in cassation a criminal case. In this case, the local press has made every effort to smear Ishchenko, calling it a pseudo-human rights activist as head of a human rights organization was dismantled by the Supreme Court of BC in 2003. In guilt Ishchenko was charged more and that he spent public campaign against the executive and the judiciary, for personal purposes.

Since we are talking about the imminent threat of being on the freedom of human rights activist Mikhail Afanasyev felt it necessary to seek the support of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and active participation in all programs, which he accepted. "I told them:" Please help me, man, because it simply no one to defend him even elementary counsel at trial does not provide or will provide some kind of dead. I just see that no lawyer would not agree to protect him or will be any "dead" because, according to investigators, he threatened not to someone as chairman of the Supreme Court, so no one dares to communicate with this case. You at least pay attention to this problem "- says Michael. The next day I received a reply that his message has been sent for consideration in the Fund" Public Verdict. "That's all.

And in early April, Afanasyev answer came that forced him to write in MHG the following letter: "Prosvyatite me, please, if you call yourself human rights activists, so why defend their own colleagues can not? 20 times implored your help, Alexander Ishchenko of Khakassia now arrested. Is the problem in the country only in the Kremlin? "All my career I'll bet I'm for human rights. It asked for help, and just wait for the lazy writing:" Well, Che's there? "To put us started. That's it!". "In short, they spit on us like they have one problem - the Kremlin, the second problem - Khodorkovsky, as he is sitting there, and simple human rights activist from Khakassia some, as he sits, and what happens to him - absolutely do not care. I first saw it - told us in a phone conversation, Mikhail Afanasyev. - I understand that Khodorkovsky pay them - they are noisy. But he has paid them not only to ensure that they were noisy with regard to him, you must also create a mask that they other than to protect him.But we do not need them. The impression that they like dogs, gave the command "of FAS, when Khodorkovsky was necessary to protect, and they ran to protect him, as if it pebble became friends. Each day, write: Khodorkovsky has happened, it happened to Khodorkovsky, hesitated, oblevalsya - and we should all read this. Imagine, I'm sitting here: "Khodorkovsky - a political prisoner and the other" - and I Ischenko sitting here - a man whom I saw in the case, I saw how he fought for the people here that such cases raise! Maybe in a hundred years Khodorkovsky monument to deliver and can not deliver and can generally zaplyuyut it. But now have a specific problem to solve. The little man is under arrest. Help you do it at least once, send a letter of support to him in jail at least ...", - outraged Mikhail Afanasyev.

Fortunately, the verdict of a jury of 18 May, Alexander Ishchenko, was fully justified. About it even written in the newspapers with the same marked as "justified an impostor and human rights activist." Moscow Helsinki Group has remained as it were not for business.

And now, Mikhail Afanasyev, which is, incidentally, laureate Andrei Sakharov "For Journalism as a Deed" has to fight with the judiciary for his honor, dignity and freedom. First on Afanasyev were fined a total sum of 80,000 rubles. It was then reviewed his case, on charges of slandering the head of a special detachment of the national Office for the Protection of the hunting grounds of Vladimir Adabasha, after which the journalist received a sentence - 1 year conditionally suspended for one year. And on May 24 followed by another indictment - 2 years probation for 3 years. And - again, for libel, although in November last year, the court acquitted, found no slander in materials Afanasyev. But human rights guru once again opted to stay away from this case and decided, apparently, that the rescue of drowning - the handiwork of drowning ... unless, of course, they have no ability to pay for services for the protection of civil rights and liberties.

Tatyana Golubeva


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