Amnesty International became aware of the case against Ivan Moseev after the BarentsObserver article on Friday.
FSB accuses Moseev of incitement of ethnic hatred and allegedly high treason for his engagement as leader of the Pomor movement in Russia’s White Sea region. The indictment says Norwegian secret services are using Ivan Moseev to destabilize the social-political situation in Arkhangelsk.
If convicted, he faces 12 to 20 years in prison. That will not happen in silence.
Patricia Kaatee is policy adviser for Amnesty International in Norway. She says her organization has not had the possibility to verify the facts in the case, and are therefore giving conditioned provisional comments to the case.
“Amnesty International will carefully monitor the case against Ivan Moseev, and consider further actions next week, after consultation and in close cooperation with colleagues in London and Moscow, says Patricia Kaatee, to BarentsObserver.
Contacts with Norway The case against Ivan Moseev hits the Barents cooperation hard. Parts of the indictment describe Moseev’s contacts with the so-called Pomor-brotherhood in Norway. Amnesty hopes Norwegian authorities will take the case seriously.
“Norwegian authorities have promoted civil society cooperation between Russian and Norwegian individuals, organizations and institutions within the Barents region, with the direct and indirect support from the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. Since Ivan Moseev now seems to have been indicted with high treason because of his participation in this peaceful regional cooperation, Norwegian authorities have a moral duty without any further delay to ask Russian authorities to respect Mr. Ivan Moseev’s right to freedom of expression, assembly and organization in accordance with Russia’s human right obligations, and to immediately and unconditionally close the criminal case against Ivan Moseev, argues Patricia Kaatee.
Not isolated incident Amnesty International is concerned that the indictment against of Moseev in not an isolated incident.
“The Moseev-case must be seen within the context of an increasingly restrictive practice in Russia today with regard to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression for people peacefully protesting or expressing dissenting political views,” says Patricia Kaatee.
She points to the events of recent weeks and months, including the adoption of national legislation restricting access to assembly in June, the adoption of national law restricting the work of non-governmental organizations in July, and adoption of a new bill on high treason now in November that will could be used against Ivan Moseev.
“All this is a progressive strangling of the freedoms of assembly and expression in the Russian Federation,” says Kaatee.
Amnesty International is again calling on the Russian authorities to reverse this trend and commit itself to the defense of the human rights, of all persons in Russia wishing to peacefully express their views, whether critical of the authorities or not, whether approved of by them or not, as stipulated in international human rights law and in the Russian Constitution.
FSB: Moseev called Russians “scum” Central in the case against Moseev is a comment the FSB believes he placed in ”Ekho Russkogo Severa” in April this year, where Russians were called “scum”. The editor of the web site found out that this comment had been sent from Moseev’s ip-adress and told the FSB about this. Moseev denies having posted this comment and claims that his computer was turned off at the moment when the comment had been posted.
The SOVA Center for Information and Anlysis, a Moscow-based Russian nonprofit organization conducting research and informational work on nationalism and racism, finds the accusations against Moseev exaggerated:
“From our point of view the comments placed on the web site “Ekho Russogo Severa”, which are the reason for the case, can be regarded as hostile language. All the same, the comment does not imply any calls for action, and the prosecution against Moseev looks absurd”, the center says in a comment on Public Post.
Postpones court hearing The court hearing in the Moseev-case was supposed to start in Arkhangelsk Monday morning, but BarentsObserver is informed that the case will be postponed because Ivan Moseev is unable to come to the court for health reasons.