ALDE-PACE News

Restrictions on freedom of assembly in Russia upset European liberals

6.06.2012 Ahead of new opposition protests scheduled for next week, around 20 activists, including Mr Mitrokhin, leader of Yabloko, protesting against a bill toughening responsibility for organisation of and participation in mass rallies were arrested yesterday in Moscow.

The new law has been approved by the Russian Parliament and is awaiting promulgation by President Putin. The bill punishes organisers and participants of any mass public gathering - even those lacking formal attributes of a political protest - for any acts that perturb the circulation of pedestrians or vehicles, drastically raising fines from max. 5000 rubles (120 €) to max. 300000 rubles (over 7000 €).

"Participation in mass rallies cannot be the privilege of the rich. The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly will certainly be informed of these worrying developments in Russia. President Putin has the right not to sign the bill. And I sincerely hope that he will use this right, taking account of the criticism voiced by lawyers, civil society and opposition parties, as well as the demands to engage into public consultations. Another mechanism available to all member states of the Council of Europe is the legal opinions of the Venice Commission. In order to avoid the violation of Council of Europe standards, it would be appropriate if the Russian authorities requested such an opinion on the draft law before it comes into force," said Anne Brasseur, President of ALDE-PACE.

 

Added on 06-06-2012

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