Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) is pleased to join over 90 other organisations and individuals in endorsing a letter in solidarity with Ivan Pavlov, a Russian human rights activist and lawyer who has been criminally charged with disclosing data of a preliminary investigation which has been declared secret. The likely reason for these charges is Pavlov’s role, along with other members of Team 29, which he heads, in defending opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and campaign offices against criminal accusations of advocating extremism.
“These charges against Ivan, who is a lion of the human rights and right to information struggle in Russia, are clearly politically motivated,” said Toby Mendel, CLD’s Executive Director. “They also represent a new development in Russia where, until now, lawyers have largely been able to defend their clients despite crackdowns on the opposition.”
Pavlov was detained on Friday, 30 April, and, although he was later ordered to be released by a judge, this was on condition that he not use a telephone or the Internet. Pavlov has been a tireless campaigner against government secrecy and in support of human rights. Just the day before he was charged with making information public, he had accused Russian authorities of abusing secrecy rules in the Navalny case and lodged another legal case to have those materials declared open to the public.
The various measures against Pavlov, including the charges and communications ban, are a manifest breach of his rights to freedom of expression and criminal due process. They represent a broader attack on the rule of law, including respect for the independence of lawyers. CLD calls on democratic States and intergovernmental human rights bodies to take action to defend the rights of Pavlov and all Russians.
The letter with the full list of signatories is available in English original