Target: Voronezh Governor A.V. Gordeev
Goal: Release human rights activist Roman Khabarov
A district court in the Russian town of Voronezh has ruled to prolong the detention of former police officer and human rights activist, Roman Khabarov. Mr. Khabarov was arrested earlier this year in Voronezh, charged with being a member of an organized criminal group that operated a gambling ring in the region. The original ruling was that Mr. Khabarov would be held until the end of March, pending a court hearing on pretrial restrictions. The extension of this detention shows that the Russian government has very little evidence against Mr. Khabarov and would rather just continue extending his detention illegally. He must immediately be allowed his release or be charged with a crime in line with international law.
During his 18 years as a police officer, Mr. Khabarov was openly critical of the government’s treatment of human rights activists. In 2011, he was released from service, likely as a result of his opposition to government policy. After his firing he used his law degree to become a legal consultant for victims of police abuse. He then moved on to become an activist, exposing torture and other abuses committed by law enforcement. His activity in this capacity has drawn extensive ire from the government over the past few years. The government has brought libel, abuse of official position and other charges against Mr. Khabarov but none of them reached the courts. It was only this latest charge that allowed the government to detain Mr. Khabarov indefinitely.
Mr. Khabarov is innocent of all charges against him. The government has created this situation in order to keep him out of the public mind. It is evident that the authorities have long wanted to imprison Mr. Khabarov and it is uncertain when they will release him. Sign this petition to demand the Russian government immediately and unconditionally release Roman Khabarov.
Dear Governor A.V. Gordeev,
The recent arrest and detention of human rights activist Roman Khabarov seems to go against international laws regarding detention. Mr. Khabarov should be immediately and unconditionally released until charges in line with international law are brought against him. The continued detention of Mr. Khabarov will show the international community Russia’s continued disregard for human rights abuses.
I ask that you do all that you can to explain Mr. Khabarov’s detention or release him. Doing so will show the international community that Russia is willing to listen to the concerns of its people rather than just throw activists in jail.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Stanislav Kozlovskiy via Wikipedia Commons