The ICJ condemns the arrest and the criminal charging of Dmitry Talantov, the President of the Bar Association of Udmurtia region, on 28 June 2022, for exercising his right to freedom of expression. The ICJ calls for his immediate release and the dropping of all charges.
Talantov, who was arrested in Izhevsk at about 10.00, has been charged with public dissemination of “deliberately false information” about the actions of Russian Armed Forces (Criminal Code Article 207.3). Police were reported to have carried out searches at his houses and the premises of the Chamber of Lawyers of Udmurtia which he heads.
The charges related to a Facebook post published on 3 April 2022, in which he asserted that the photos and videos from Kharkiv, Mariupol, Irpen and Bucha demonstrated “not fascism but extreme Nazi practices”.
Dimitry Talantov has been denied access to his lawyer.
The right to freedom of expression is protected under international law, including under article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The exercise of the right may not be criminalized, except under exceedingly narrow circumstances, none of which are present in this case.
The ICJ is furthermore concerned Talantov may have been targeted in relation to his lawyer as he representation, of journalist Ivan Safronov whose other lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, was forced to leave Russia as a result of criminal prosecution.
The searches of Talantov’s home or office premises also may amount to an arbitrary and unlawful interference with the right to respect for private life or for the home, protected under article 8 ECHR and article 17 ICCPR.
It is reported that currently there are 67 cases investigated under the “war-fake” charges in 35 regions in 35 regions in Russia.
The ICJ has recently published a briefing-paper outlining the server and unwarranted obstacles lawyers typically face when representing people charged under 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
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