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Sunday, October 29, 2006

More (and more, and more) Racial Outrage in Russia

The Moscow News reports on not one not two but three more ghastly setbacks for the cause of racial justice in Russia, showing only too painfully how necessary Russian heros like Marina Litvinovich (see above) really are. Both Russia's civil and criminal courts repeatedly fail to deliver basic justice to its citizens of color.


A Russian non-guilty verdict for all the accused of the murder of a Vietnamese student went against the evidence and public opinion in the two countries, Vietnam ’s Foreign Ministry has said, the Vietnam News Agency reported. The verdict, by which a St Petersburg court acquitted 17 young men of the 2004 killing of student Vu Anh Tuan last week, could “negatively impact the feelings between the two peoples, seen as a valuable asset,” the ministry said in a diplomatic note which was conveyed to the Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Vadim Serafimov.The defendants were charged with gang-murdering Tuan, then a 20-year-old student at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute out of racial hatred.An autopsy revealed Tuan suffered 37 stab wounds.The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry expressed its “deep concern” over the murder case, asking the Russian side to take measures to quickly investigate and determine the identity of Tuan’s murderer.Ambassador Serafimov told Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh, who conveyed the message that the investigation into the death of Tuan was not yet over.The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent a message to the Supreme Procuracy, the Supreme Court and the Interior Ministry informing them of Vietnam ’s opinion, the Russian diplomat said.He pledged to forward the diplomatic note to Russia immediately and ask relevant authorities to bring to court quickly the persons responsible for Tuan’s death.


A court in Moscow rejected a claim filed by a Tajik migrant who had been injured by a Moscow policeman in the city metro two years ago, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported. The worker, Rustam Baibekov, had claimed 1 million rubles in moral damages from the Interior Ministry of Russia after he was wounded by a policeman. The policeman, Boris Kostruba, was found guilty of a murder attempt and sentenced to 9 years in prison last year. He had been charged under several articles of the penal code envisaging punishment for attempted murder, abuse of office and storage of illegal arms. On July 31, 2004, Kostruba shot a 20-year-old migrant worker from Tajikistan , Rustam Baibekov, in the mouth for attempting to enter a subway station without paying the fare. Baibekov attempted to enter the station together with his friend by paying only for one person. According to the investigation, Kostruba detained Baibekov, found he had no Moscow registration, demanded money from him and after a refusal shot him in the mouth. The sergeant was detained immediately after the incident.Baibekov survived after being taken to the hospital. The bullet hit his neck and passed out over his shoulder-blade.After the incident, senior subway police officers lost their posts. Police in Moscow routinely stop people from the Caucasus and Central Asia for identity document checks.


A leading international rights group has harshly criticized Russia’s decision to deport an Uzbek national to his home country despite a last-minute order by the European Court of Human Rights that the deportation be stayed pending a review.Russia has deported an Uzbek man to his home country despite a last-minute order by the European Court of Human Rights that the deportation be stayed pending a review, Washington Post reported. Rustam Muminov was sent back to Uzbekistan on Tuesday evening, about 20 minutes after the court, whose decisions are legally binding on Russia, issued an injunction to stop the deportation.“Our greatest concern is for Muminov’s protection from torture or other ill treatment,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Russia must take immediate steps to reverse its action of placing Muminov in harm’s way.”Muminov was detained on Oct. 17 at the offices of a migrants’ rights group in Moscow. He is wanted in Uzbekistan on charges of membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic organization that is banned in the Central Asian republic. Uzbekistan has a documented history of torturing prisoners, according to human rights organizations.In August, Russian authorities halted the deportation of 13 Uzbeks after the European Court intervened. The court, located in Strasbourg, France, enforces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, drawn up by the Council of Europe, an international body founded after World War II to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law.Russia ratified the convention in 1998, agreeing to accept the court’s decisions as binding. It is unusual for Russia to openly flout court rulings, and it was unclear whether officials here were aware of the ruling in sufficient time to stop the deportation.“The very fact that the European Court urgently issued an interim measure in Muminov’s case indicates just how serious his claim to harm is,” Cartner said. “It’s astounding that Russian authorities could have permitted this deportation to go forward.”Russia currently holds the rotating chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.Human Rights Watch said the deportation also appeared to violate Russian law because it took place before Muminov had a chance to appeal the deportation order. A hearing was scheduled to be heard in Moscow on Thursday.Muminov was first detained in Lipetsk, about 250 miles southeast of Moscow, in February. The Russian prosecutor general’s office declined to press Uzbekistan’s extradition request, but local officials detained Muminov again after his release in September, this time on a charge that he lacked a residence permit.

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