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Russia-Update: Mr Maxim Efimov is under continuous harassment from investigative bodies
On 1 August 2012, Mr Maxim Efimov was informed that the City Court of Petrozavodsk had denied the appeal made by the Investigation Committee of Karelia that he be placed into a psychiatric institution for examination, as part of the ongoing criminal case taken against him.
The Investigation Committee had previously made a similar appeal in July but then withdrew it on 17 July. On 29 June 2012, the Supreme Court of Karelia ruled that the Pertrozavodsk Regional Court decision to admit Maxim Efimov for psychiatric evaluation was ungrounded. The term of investigation into the criminal case against the human rights defender was extended to 13 August 2012.
Maxim Efimov is Director of the Karelian regional branch of the inter-regional Youth Human Rights Group (YHRG). He is also Chief Editor of the human rights newspaper Chas nol (Hour zero). The Karelian branch of YHRG organises human rights protection programmes and supports civic initiatives, in particular youth-oriented projects. Maxim Efimov is under criminal investigation for an article he wrote on the Russian Church, in which he condemns the state sponsorship of the church and instead suggests that government funding would be more effectively put into social services, including kindergartens.
Maxim Efimov's lawyer was only informed one and a half hours in advance of the court hearing on 1 August 2012. She did not attend the court hearing and made a formal complaint about the lack of due process. Previously, on 31 July 2012, the human rights defender's lawyer was informed by the investigators that they would be applying for an international arrest warrant for Maxim Efimov as he had left the jurisdiction as a result of the concern that he would be admitted for an undefined period of time to a psychiatric institution. To date it is not known if this warrant has come into effect.
Front Line Defenders reiterates its concern at the risk of criminal prosecution facing Maxim Efimov, and calls on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against the defender. Front Line Defenders believes that the charges and criminal case brought against Maxim Efimov are solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful human rights work in the Russian Federation.
Please refer to the previous urgent appeal and updates of Front Line Defenders: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18827 https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18311 https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/18055
You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Russia. HERE