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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Adam Osmayev: Framed, Tortured, Extradited


A court in Ukraine has decided to extradite a Chechen man accused of plotting to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin. Adam Osmayev, who was arrested in March 2012, would be handed over to the Russian authorities within a month. Meanwhile, Mr Osmayev has released the following open letter:



Finland Deported Tortured Chechen to Russia


Finnish police deported a Chechen asylum seeker to Russia on Thursday. He is yet another case where immigration authorities in EU countries have refused protection to people who have full reason to fear for their safety in their country of origin. The man was deported to the very country whose authorities tortured him and threatened his family members.


Musa: Survivor of Chechen Meat Grinder


The Finnish webzine, Fifi, ran an interview with Musa, a Chechen refugee living in Finland. Below, an abridged translation of Jussi Förbom’s original article:

Finnish director Mervi Junkkonen’s documentary film, After Life – Four Stories of Torture, is an excruciating, maddening, and beautiful plea in defence of torture victims. One of the film’s main characters is Musa, who escaped the Chechen meat grinder. He wishes that the viewers of the film appreciate the importance of freedom and understand that the conflict in Chechnya is not over. One day, he hopes to be able to tell his son about his experiences under torture.


“I do not have the moral right to be afraid”

On 6 May 2011, Mary Robinson, president of the Mary Robinson Foundation, presented the annual Front Line Award to the Joint Mobile Group of the Russian Federation for their outstanding work investigating torture and disappearances in Chechnya despite the serious risks. The Award was presented to Igor Kalyapin, founder and President of the Joint Mobile Group, at the Award ceremony in Dublin's City Hall.

Presenting the Award, Mrs Robinson said: "The work of the Joint Mobile Group is an inspirational example of how committed individuals, despite all the pressures that are brought to bear on them, can hold the line in defence of justice, truth and the rule of law. It is the denial of access to justice that enables tyrants to prevail. This is why the work of human rights defenders like the Joint Mobile Group is so important."


Committee Against Torture Wins Prize


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has awarded its 2011 Human Rights Prize to Russia’s Committee Against Torture in recognition of the organisation’s role in assisting victims of serious human rights abuses. The prize honours “outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe.”

A panel, which included leading figures from the world of human rights, recommended the Committee Against Torture from among ten individuals and organisations nominated for the prize, praising its “effective independent investigations” alongside official state investigations, especially in Russia’s war-torn Chechnya.


Elena Maglevannaya will not give up


The Russian freelance journalist and human rights activist, Elena Maglevannaya, who has applied for asylum in Finland, continues her work at the refugee reception centre in Joutseno, on the Finnish-Russian border.

Maglevannaya has been waiting for a decision on her asylum application for over a year now. If the Finnish immigration authorities grant her asylum, Maglevannaya vows to continue writing about human rights violations in Chechnya.

“It is impossible for me to return to Russia; that would be a death sentence,” says Maglevannaya. She has finally received an invitation to a hearing at the Finnish Immigration Service, where she will have an opportunity to recount her reasons to apply for asylum.

“I am excited, but I have great trust in the European system. Here in Finland, there is rule of law. I have often been in a situation where law has no meaning or it does not exist at all,” Maglevannaya says.


Russian human rights defender jailed for five years


A Russian human rights defender has been jailed for five years in a high security penal colony on charges of theft and robbery amid fears that he may have been targeted for his human rights work. Aleksei Sokolov, who campaigned against torture and corruption in law enforcement agencies, was sentenced by a court in the Sverdlosk region of Russia.

Aleksei Sokolov’s lawyers said there have been a series of violations of criminal procedure in the handling of his case. He is going to appeal against the verdict. According to Sokolov's lawyers, the court based its verdict solely on the statements of the co-accused in this case who are already serving prison sentences for other crimes.

Aleksei Sokolov is founder and head of the Russian human rights organisation Pravovaya Osnova (Legal Base) which campaigns against torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Russia. Legal Base brought about several investigations against law enforcement officers on allegations including the use of torture to coerce suspects to "confess."

Aleksei Sokolov rose to prominence after he publicised and distributed a film about torture and other ill-treatment in a temporary holding centre in Yekaterinburg. The film which received international attention, led to the closure of the centre. He has also investigated possible corruption in some law-enforcement agencies in Yekaterinburg.