Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Russia Warns PACE over Critical Resolution

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has approved a highly critical resolution on Russian policies, despite protests from Russian MPs who slammed the document as biased and warned of repercussions. In its report, PACE expressed concern over some recent decision taken by the Russian authorities and the general situation with democracy in Russia. Thus, PACE said it was worried over “the law on the criminalisation of defamation, on the Internet, amendments to the law on assemblies (the so-called “protest law”) and on NGOs (the so-called “law on foreign agents”).” Apart from that, the resolution has a section criticizing Russia’s judiciary system. According to the resolution, sentencing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in December 2010, to six more years in prison and the conviction of the Punk artists Pussy Riots in August 2012 were largely perceived as signs that the judiciary in Russia remains subject to political pressure and the influence of the executive. PACE drew attention to the fact that “the murders of Ms Anna Politkovskaya and Ms Natalia Estemirova still remain unpunished.” PACE also stressed that “torture and death in detention are unacceptable in a Council of Europe member State by any means.  Before the vote, the Russian delegation said it was upset by the stubbornness of the rapporteurs, who wanted to push the critical amendments allowing such a move. “Russia has found itself in a position of an outcast. This is inadmissible. If the recommendations are passed this will have the most negative consequences,” Aleksey Pushkov, the head of Russian Duma's International Relations committee, warned the assembly. (document)

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