EPDE: Psychiatry instrumentalised to silence election observers
The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), of which NHC is a foundig member, has issued a statement today strongly protesting severe harrassment and intimidation of election observers from the Russian election observer organisation GOLOS.
Ludmila Kuzmina, leader of the Samara’ regional branch of EPDE member organization GOLOS, Russia, has been threatened to undergo a psychiatric examination by the prosecutor's office in April 2015. This sort of repression has been often applied in the late Soviet Union against dissidents. Furthermore, Kuzmina has been under pressure from the side of tax inspection for months. This is a new dimension of pressure against independent election observers in the Russian Federation one year ahead of the Parliamentary elections in 2016.
Already in March 2015 police confiscated Kuzmina's private apartment and her car in a tax-evasion case. Tax authorities claim that Ludmila Kuzmina should have paid taxes in the amount of 2 million Rubles (approx. 40.000 $) for a donation for the work of the regional GOLOS branch in the years 2010-2012. GOLOS declares these claims unlawful and has filed legal complaints.
Golos activists beaten during election observation in Moscow region
On April 26th 2015 observers of GOLOS and other independent election observation groups have been physically attacked by unknown persons after having detected ballot stuffing at the precinct 576 in the village Zheleznodorozhny in Moscow region. The observers were heavily beaten.
EPDE strongly protests any sort of intimidation of independent election observers and calls on the authorities of the Russian Federation to stop any sort of harassment of election observers. Also EPDE calls on the Russian Ministry of Justice to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation which decided in April 2014 that the national GOLOS organization should not be declared a "foreign agent". GOLOS should be taken from the register of "foreign agents" through the Ministry of Justice at the earliest convenience.
In 2012, GOLOS received the Sakharov Freedom Award from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.