Once again, Russia is failing to take proper action and bring to justice those responsible for attacks on human rights defenders and journalists. The most recent victim of these attacks is Lev Ponomaryov, 67, who suffered a brutal beating on March 31st in Moscow. He is the leader of the NGO For Human Rights and a prominent government critic.
"They were kicking me, trying to hit my head and chest. I covered myself, as they teach you to do in films, and screamed, very loudly," BBC quoted Mr. Ponomaryov describing the attack on Russian TV.
Amnesty International reported that right before the incident Mr. Ponomaryov met with a Council of Europe official to discuss "allegations of politically-motivated abuses of the criminal justice system" in the highly-publicized case against the former head of Yukos oil company.
In the press conference following the incident, Russian human rights leaders asked "Who will be next?" and signed an appeal to the Russian President requesting his direct oversight of the investigation and prosecution of this and similar crimes.
"Political terror" is how Yuri Dzhibladze - whose interview we bring you today - describes the current climate in which Russian NGOs operate. Mr. Dzhibladze is the president of the Russian Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights. In this video, he provides an analysis of the major challenges that social justice and human rights advocates face today. Mr. Dzhibladze addresses the international community and European authorities with suggestions for concrete actions to end impunity for attacks on human rights defenders and journalists.