Doughty Street Chambers and Index on Censorship invite you to a breakfast talk on Tuesday 18 April with guest speakers Ildar Dadin and his wife Anastasia Zotova.
Dadin is a well known Russian opposition and LGBT rights activist, and is the only person to have been convicted under a 2014 law which seeks to crush protest. For a series of one-man pickets, often silent, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment notwithstanding that the prosecutor sought a shorter sentence, and that before the anti-protest law was enacted a sentence for such activity would have been limited to a fine or a suspended sentence. Dadin will speak about his time in Russian prison colonies, including the torture he and other prisoners suffered until he was unexpectedly released in February of this year. He will also speak about the horrific news coming from Chechnya in recent days of state-sanctioned violence against gay men, and the difficulty in getting information on these abuses to the world because of Russia’s severe restrictions on press freedom and journalists.
Dadin will be speaking via video-link. Despite the sudden and unexpected quashing of his conviction in February, he remains subject to a travel ban preventing him from leaving Russia. Even though Article 27.2 of the Russian Constitution states “Everyone may freely leave the Russian Federation. Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to freely return to the Russian Federation”, the number of Russian citizens prevented from leaving the country on the orders of the Kremlin is rising year on year.
The session, chaired by Russia expert and Doughty Street barrister Malcolm Hawkes, will conclude with a discussion of the action that lawyers and others can take to support Dadin and others in Russia who seek to promote free expression and a free press, and who need help to challenge travel bans, so that they can convey information to the world of State sponsored abuses of civil liberties and human rights.