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UN Expert Urges End to Detained Dissidents’ Disappearances in Russia

UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Russian Federation Mariana Katzarova is “gravely concerned by a pattern of enforced disappearances of arbitrarily detained dissident political figures in Russia,” she said on Thursday, quoted in the UN World News in Brief.
Her statement was prompted by information that Alexey Gorinov’s whereabouts and health condition have been unknown since December 8, 2023.
Similar to fellow opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Gorinov has been subjected to an enforced disappearance and his enforced disappearance and incommunicado detention puts him at risk of further human rights violations, including loss of his life,” the UN expert commented.
The UN Special Rapporteur said that Gorinov’s treatment and conditions of detention, including reports about the prison authorities withholding lifesaving medicine and medical treatment from him, need to be urgently investigated and prosecuted with a view to holding those responsible accountable. “I call on the Russian authorities to immediately disclose Gorinov’s whereabouts and his state of health and grant him immediate access to adequate medical care, to his family and his defence lawyers. The practice of enforced disappearance of imprisoned political figures in Russia must end,” Katzarova said.
The Special Rapporteur is highly concerned that more than a year after a November 16, 2022 pronouncement of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, Gorinov was still held in a punitive isolation cell in cold and damp conditions, leading to further deterioration of his health. For 48 consecutive days, between September 7 and October 25, 2023, he was kept incommunicado in solitary confinement. “The intentional suffering inflicted on Gorinov during his arbitrary detention contravenes the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, binding on the Russian Federation,” the expert said. “Gorinov and all those arbitrarily detained should be released immediately and provided remedies and reparations for all the harm suffered, in line with international human rights obligations,” the Special Rapporteur said.
Alexey Gorinov, a local politician and a member of the Krasnoselsky District Municipal Council in Moscow, was arbitrarily arrested and detained on April, 26, 2022, on charges of “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation”. He was later sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for calling the “special military operation” a “war”. Discussing a proposed exhibition of children’s drawings, he stated that such exhibition is not appropriate while “children on the territory of Ukraine were dying and were made orphans as a result of the actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine.” Since December 8, 2023, the authorities have not allowed Gorinov any contact with his lawyer, his family or the outside world.
Since December 8, 2023, the authorities have not allowed Gorinov any contact with his lawyer, his family or the outside world.
Mariana Katzarova of Bulgaria was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Russian Federation on 4 April 4, 2023 and assumed her functions on May 1, 2023. She is not a UN staff member and does not draw a salary from the Organization.