Urgent Action outcome: Yana Antonova sentenced to community service

Yana Antonova, a paediatrician and a woman human rights defender from Krasnodar, southern Russia, was convicted on 2 October of “participating in the activities of an undesirable organization” and sentenced to 240 hours of community service. Yana Antonova has committed no crime and has faced prosecution, since March 2019, solely for her peaceful activism. She is appealing her conviction.

 

NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

 

Yana Antonova, a paediatrician and a woman human rights defender from Krasdonar, in southern Russia, was convicted on 2 October 2020 of “participating in the activities of an undesirable organization” (Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced to 240 hours of community service, as requested by the prosecution.

Yana Antonova has faced prosecution for her peaceful activism, including for commemorating slain Russian activist Boris Nemtsov, sharing a video about the shortage of schools in her region, and other peaceful activities as a former member of Open Russia. The Russian movement Open Russia brought together people interested in activism including promotion of human rights, rule of law and government accountability. The movement was never registered as an organisation and it ceased to exist in March 2019, after it was arbitrarily made illegal in Russia, as an “undesirable organisation”. The law on “undesirable organisations” gives the Russian authorities the power to declare any foreign organisation “undesirable” thereby making it illegal and criminalising any association with it. The decision to outlaw Open Russia also disregarded the fact that it was a Russian, not foreign, movement. 

On 29 March 2019, Yana Antonova’s house was searched and she was taken to the Investigative Committee for questioning. On 22 May, she was officially charged under article 284.1 of the Criminal Code which carries up to six years in prison. Yana Antonova also lost her job as a paediatrician, and other members of her extended family faced harassment by Russian law enforcement agencies in connection with the criminal proceedings against her.

Since 2019, the Russian authorities have used the repressive “undesirable organisations” law to open criminal cases against human rights defenders and activists. Anastasia Shevchenko, a woman human rights defender from Rostov-on Don, in southern Russia, is currently facing prosecution under the same charge (see: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/06/russia-prisoner-of-consc…). By prosecuting Yana Antonova and other activists and human rights defenders for their peaceful activism, the authorities are violating Russia’s obligations under international human rights law, including in relation to the rights to freedom of expression and association. Yana Antonova is appealing her conviction.
 

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