Criminal Case to be Filed against the Authorities of St. Petersburg

Press release - 18 July, 2006
13 July 2006, Moscow – St. Petersburg. Greenpeace is planning to bring a suit to the Prosecutor’s office against the authorities of St. Petersburg in accordance with article 149 of the RF Criminal Code “Hindering meetings, rallies, demonstrations, processions, picketing or participation in such activities”. This article provides for a penalty of up to three years of imprisonment.

Palace square in St. Petersburg

Greenpeace also addressed the authorized representative for human rights of the RF, because the human right to freedom of meetings and associations, provided for by Article 11 of the European Convention concerning the Human Rights and Basic Freedoms' Protection is violated in St. Petersburg.

On the eve of the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg citizens and non-governmental organizations were virtually banned from organizing public events, Greenpeace Russia had submitted four notifications of a picket. However, organizers were offered to hold the event after July 18, i.e. after the summit is over. The same response was given to citizens of St. Petersburg who wanted to hold a protest picket against cutting trees in the city. The public was a victim of the meeting of the heads of democratic states where unlike Russia human rights are observed.

According to Greenpeace, in all cases there were violations of Article 12.2 of the federal law "On meetings, rallies, demonstrations, processions, picketing", according to which local authorities have right to provide the organizer of a public event with a well-grounded proposal about changing the place and (or) time of the public event.

In all cases the response was the same. It referred to "complicated transportation circumstances" and "organization of international events" is not a well-grounded proposal. Evidently, the "complicated transportation circumstances" in the city will continue after 18 July.

 "Only officials themselves seem to be able to answer how a picket in a district of the city can be an obstacle for the summit that is held in the city suburbs", says Irina Nevrova, Greenpeace Russia lawyer. "Then, the Palace square, which according to officials can not host 10 people, is about 50 thousand square meters or 5 hectares".

It's time for the authorities to be charged with their unlawful actions, if Russia really wants to prove its status as a democratic country.

For further information please contact Greenpeace Russia:

St.Petersburg - +7 (812) 352-1022 - Igor Babanin

Moscow - +7 (495) 926-5045, ext.371 - Irina Nevrova