Dr. Lev Ponomarev, a prominent Russian physicist and human rights activist, was violently evicted from the offices of his organization, “For Human Rights,” during a dispute over the lease. Ponomarev and five others were treated so roughly by security guards hired by the city of Moscow that they had to be treated at a first aid clinic.
CCS protested the assault to Russian authorities, especially because police were present but did not intervene.
Mr. Vladimir Putin
President, Russian Federation
Moscow, Russian Federation
July 18, 2013
Dear President Putin:
We are an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write to you now in concern for Lev Ponomarev.
Dr. Ponomarev worked and published for many years in elementary particle physics at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics in Moscow. He became involved in human rights and politics in the late 1980s, and has become one of the leading human rights figures in Russia.
According to press reports, on June 22, 2013, Ponomarev was severely beaten by private security guards that had been hired by bailiffs for the city of Moscow when he and his staff were violently evicted from his organization’s office “For Human Rights” during a dispute over the lease. “They treated us very roughly,” he told Reuters news agency. “I was dragged across the floor and then kicked.”. He added that he and five others had to be taken by ambulance to a first-aid clinic with bruises and scrapes, Police were present at the incident but did not intervene. Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin was quoted as saying that the dispute should have been resolved through the courts.
We urge you to investigate the circumstances of this cases and thoroughly address the conduct of the local authorities and the police that were involved, especially the use of violence that seems to be related to Dr. Ponomarev’s activities on behalf of human rights. We urge you to order local officials to punish those responsible and to provide compensation for the harm inflicted on the human rights workers . Furthermore, we request that you insist that Ponomarev be treated respectfully and that he be afforded the full complement of rights provided under the Russian judicial system. as contemplated by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. His expression of opinion and the right to due process of law are also guaranteed under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a signatory.
Sincerely yours,Eugene Chudnovsky
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Mr. Vladimir Lukin, Ombudsman of the Russian Federation
H.E. Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, Embassy of the Russian Federation to the US
H.E. Ambassador Michael McFaul, US Embassy to the Russian Federation
The Hon. John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States
- Russian Physicist and Human Rights Activist Beaten at his Moscow Office (concernedscientists.org)
- Russia: Investigate Violent Raid on Rights Group (hrw.org)