Freedom of Expression Campaigning Award-winner Ildar Dadin has returned to activism since his release from prison in February when his conviction was overturned by Russia’s constitutional and supreme courts.
Dadin was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2015 under a 2014 public assembly law. His crime was staging one-man pickets, often holding a billboard, in public. In November 2016, a letter from Dadin to his wife was published, exposing torture he experienced in prison. In April 2017, Dadin was prevented from attending the Index Freedom of Expression Awards in London.
When asked about the international attention his imprisonment received, Dadin expressed that he feels Russian civil society is part of a global society, rather than a totally isolated group. He believes that pressure from civil society both in Russia and abroad were partially responsible for his release. The ultimate goal of his activism shares this global view. He hopes for “justice for all people, not just Russians, humans”.
In June, Dadin was awarded the Boris Nemtsov Prize, which honours individuals who are “particularly committed to fighting for the freedom of expression and helping those who are persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds.” Dadin previously referenced Nemtsov as an example of a Russian opposition leader killed for his activism and beliefs in his Index Awards acceptance speech . Without proper travel documents, Dadin was unable to attend the awards ceremony.
A Russian court ordered the Russian Ministry of Finance to pay Dadin a compensation of 2.2 million rubles for unlawful criminal prosecution in May. He originally demanded five million rubles, and in June filed an appeal to increase the compensation.
Previous prosecution for his activism has not stopped Dadin from continuing to push for freedom of expression in Russia. In June, he read aloud from the Russian constitution on Red Square. He was fined 20,000 rubles ($350) for holding a public gathering without permission.
Moving forward, Index is helping Ildar with his transition to life outside of prison and prioritizing his health.
Additional reporting by Claire Kopsky