Press Statement on Human Rights Abuses in Russia

In a sad week for the cause of human rights in Russia, the government has shown once again its true colors towards the brave citizens who highlight abuses throughout the country. In the wake of one slain human rights worker and the discovery of another missing activist’s body, the Tatarstan regional police raided the Kazan Human Rights Center, confiscated computers and detained its director, all under the pretext of an innocuous tax investigation. The Lantos Foundation unequivocally condemns this brazen police action, the kind of thuggish harassment
which has no place in a democratic society.

With each tragic revelation, the Russian government loses more credibility in the fight to protect basic rights against rogue police action. The Lantos Foundation calls on President Medvedev to stem this moral and legal drift and produce substantive reforms protecting the rights of individuals and especially those groups dedicated to human rights. As a former law professor, President Medvedev knows that the road of “legal nihilism” which Russia is currently traveling will only lead to a dead end as far as strengthening democracy, human rights and prosperity for the Russian people.