WIPC statistic analys of attacks in 2000, comparing them with 1999
Extract from WIPC Case List - July to December (Russia and CIS countries)
Total annual statistics (January - December 2000)
Grigory Pasko case14.09.02


WIPC statistic analys of attacks in 2000, comparing them with 1999

2000: Releases of Prominent Writers Masks an Increase in Detentions

The year 2000 was marked by a series of releases of prominent writers, most of whom had spent a considerable period in prison. Faraj Birqdar of Syria, had been detained since the mid-80s, Esber Yagmurdereli, the Turkish playwright, has been in prison twice, once through the 1980s, and then again from 1998; Flora Brovina who faced 12 years in a Serbian prison, but was freed after nearly two years; Yehude Simon Munaro who was imprisoned in 1992. All had been the focus of International PEN campaigns for their release, in the case of Yagmurdereli, they had supported him since he first entered prison in 1978. Fifty others who were also freed in 2000 after serving prison terms.

Yet, in its review on attacks upon writers and journalists in the year 2000, International PEN sees little to rejoice over. It still has on its records 708 cases of killings, imprisonment and attacks against writers and journalists in 99 countries. Compared with the figures for 1999, totalling 784, this would, superficially, indicate a gradual improvement. Yet on closer scrutiny this does not hold true.

What the recent releases of high profile prisoners masks is a corresponding rise in the number of detentions. The number of "main cases" that is writers who are confirmed as detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression and association, has risen from 70 to 83, an 18% increase. The number of detainees under "investigation" where PEN is seeking clarification, has risen even higher, from 104 in 1999 to 132 in 2000, a 30% rise.

These figures show that the release of high profile writers masks the continued, and apparently growing trend to detain writers. This is amply illustrated by resumption of arrests of writers and intellectuals in Iran, which currently holds seven in prison, and another three could be jailed at any moment. All are cases arising since 1999. In China, there remain 22 long-term detainees. Burma, Ethiopia, Syria, Turkey, Cuba and Peru are also guilty of holding dissident writers and journalists for long periods. It is also worth noting that the assassination of the Democratic Republic of Congo's President in January was preceded by the arrests and detentions of numerous journalists..

Death threats, physical attacks and constant harassment by government and non-government groups continues to be a daily reality for many writers. Most notably in Bangladesh, Peru, Angola, Russia, Cuba, Turkey, Mozambique, Spain, Mexico, and Zimbabwe. In nearly every one of the 99 countries under PEN's scrutiny, such means are used to silence the outspoken. In many cases, governments refuse to acknowledge that they have any role to play in providing protection, and frequently refuse to initiate proper investigations. The killings in 2000 of 28 writers in Mozambique, Colombia, Bangladesh, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, Georgia, Spain, Ukraine and Kosovo are testament to the very real threats that remain to writers who speak out.

Lengthy trial proceedings where the defendants are not imprisoned while the trial progresses, although not so dangerous, serve to wear down and dissuade further dissent. Most notable are Turkey and Russia, both of which give prosecutor's the right to appeal against the acquittal of writers, creating trial processes that can take several years at great emotional and financial expense. Some 95 writers all over the world are in such a predicament.

So there is clearly a need for International PEN to continue to be vigilant, and its members to gather together to fight attacks against those whose freedom to write has been curtailed.

The Writers in Prison Committee Caselist July-December 2000 will be available from 1 February 2001.


Total annual statistics
January - December 2000

Killed: Investigation.................................9
Main Cases.......................................... 83
Investigation Cases..............................132
Judicial Concern....................................22
Sentence/Facing trial but not detained....95
Death threats........................................22
Otherwise threatened............................57
Briefly detained...................................155
House arrest...........................................8

Total number of cases
recorded January to December 2000...708


Extract from WIPC Case List - July to Decembre
(Russia and CIS contries)



*Antonio RUSSO: Italian radio journalist. Corpse found on 16 October 2000 by a roadside close to Gombori (80km north-east of Tblissi). An autopsy concluded that the journalist had died as a result of a severe blow to the body either by an iron bar or from an impact from a vehicle. According to close friends, his apartment had been searched and ransacked, and his satellite telephone, video cassettes and portable computer taken. He was planning to return to Italy a few days later. Russo was working for Radio Radicale, the station of the Parti Radical, headed by ex-EU commissioner, Emma Bonino. He was a high profile war journalist, having been in Pristina during the NATO raids in Spring 1999, and covered the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. He was travelling in the Caucasus reporting on the Chechen war. On 25 October, the Georgian Green Party chairman claimed that Russo's death may be linked to his research into the use of chemical weapons in Chechnya. Reports in the Moscow Times of 14 November add to these rumours in its reports that Russo had phoned his mother that he had obtained video footage of children killed by chemical weapons and that he intended to broadcast it on is return to Italy on 18 October.

*Vassili SILAGADZE: journalist for the weekly Eko Digest. Allegedly arrested by three plain clothed police on 24 July 2000 who drove him around in their car, accusing him of having written an article denouncing the "luxurious life-style" of certain high-ranking policemen. When he refused to divulge his sources, they apparently set upon him, beating him severely. He suffered from lacerated fingers. He was threatened with death before being freed. An inquiry has been initiated by the Ministry of the Interior.

Death Threat
*Lira BAISEITOVA (f): editor-in-chief of Respublika 2000. Beaten and then given a death threat by an unknown attacker on 15 September 2000 following a report she wrote suggesting that a passenger who died when the car he was travelling in crashed, had been killed because the driver, the director of a local refinery, had been drunk.

Brief detention
*Karishal ASSANOV: dissident. Held for questioning on 14 September 2000 during which time he was informed that he would be called as a witness on 20 September regarding articles published in the newspaper Soldat.

On trial
*Bigeldy GABDULLIN: editor-in-chief of 21 VEK. Trial started 13 September 2000 on charges of libel brought against him by a private company that accused him of "publication of false data on its activities". The company concerned is said to be run by President Nazarbayev's son-in-law Rakhat Aliev. WiPC seeking further details.

Facing Trial
* Yermurat BAPI and Argyngazy MADIYANOV: Editor-in-chief/director respectively of SolDat. Reported in July 2000 to be facing trial after being charged with criminal defamation against President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Related to stories printed in the weekly newspaper in May 2000 about alleged corruption in the government from top officials to the president.

Town arrest: on trial
: author of Ordaly Zhylan (Nest of Snakes). Arrested in Shymkent on 19 May 2000 and held for over a week until his release on 28 May pending charges, reportedly for assaulting a member of parliament's body guards in December 1999. He is not allowed to leave Shymkent. He was first charged for "hooliganism" in December 1999, charges that were later dismissed, but reopened in May 2000. The charges were once again dismissed. He is said to have suffered cerebral concussion and other injuries during the December 1999 assault, requiring him to be hospitalised. It is thought that he is being persecuted for his book Nest of Snakes [Note: PEN has received various translations of the title]. published in 1999, which gives an account of alleged crimes committed by officials in Southern Kazakhstan. A Russian edition was published entitled Shymkenstkaya Mafia. (The Shymkent Mafia). Tleulesov told Radio Free Europe that libel actions have been brought against him by Nurdaulet Srsenov, a member of the Majlis and who is a key figure in the book. Tleulesov is himself a former member of southern Kazakhstan's regional council. On 23 November 2000, his trial opened, on charges of propagating "false materials".

Dzhanybek MOMUNOV: founder of the independent newspaper Duburt. Arrested on 30 May 2000 in Jalal Abad and taken to Suzak prison. Said to be detained for ignoring a request to appear in court on 25 May in connection with a libel suit brought against him by a member of parliament. Momunov claims not to have received the summons. The trial began on 6 June 2000. He is reported to have appeared in court in iron shackles. The WiPC is seeking further information.

Brief Detention/ill-treatment
*Svetlana KRASILNIKOVA (f): assistant editor of Delo N. Hospitalised after an 8-hour interrogation at the Kyrgyz Ministry of National Security alongside her colleagues editor-in-chief Viktor Zapolskij and journalist Nadim Notchevkin. The newspaper is under investigation for leaking state secrets. Krasilnikova was apparently questioned without being allowed to eat or use the lavatory, leading to her being hospitalised with suspected heart problems.

Moldosali IBRAIMOV: Journalist. Sentenced to two years in prison on 19 June 2000 on charges of libel related to an article questioning the impartiality of a judge presiding over electoral issues. He was released following an appeal on 20 July 2000.

Death threats
*Vadim IAMALIEANT: journalist for Vremia. Suffered a knife attack on 10 August 2000 in Chisinau. Found unconscious and taken to hospital where as of 11 August he remained unconscious. An investigation has been initiated into the motive for the attack. Thought that it could be linked to his articles alleging local government corruption.

*Savin DZIATKOVSKY: editor of the weekly Molodezh Moldovy. Reportedly set upon and beaten by 5 unknown men. A week earlier his son is said to have also been attacked. Thought to be linked to threats made against another newspaper Serebriany Dodjd - Moldova, part of the same media group.

"Dnestr Republic"
Judicial concern
Ilie ILASCU: Independent journalist. 9 December 1993 sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of the Dnestr-Moldovan Republic. This was reduced to 15 years' imprisonment by parliament in September 1994. He was accused with five other men (whose sentences ranged from 2 to 15 years) of terrorist acts including the murder of two DMR officials. His trial opened April 1993. According to initial reports, sentences were passed without right of appeal and there are concerns that Ilascu's trial was not in accordance with international standards. There are allegations that Ilascu may have been denied access to a defence lawyer and that he was beaten or otherwise ill-treated in order to extract confessions. There are also reports that he is being held in prison conditions that fall far short of international standards. In March 1998, Ilascu was elected as a member of parliament for a second consecutive term from within prison. There are reports that he is in ill-health.

Igor DOMNIKOV: journalist for Novaia Gazeta. Set upon outside his home on 12 May 2000 by a man wielding a hammer, resulting in serious injuries and Domnikov's hospitalisation. He died from his injuries on 16 July 2000. Domnikov's newspaper is known for its hard-hitting reports on alleged corruption during the presidential elections. It has received a warning from the Ministry of Information for its interview with the Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov.

*Sergey AMELIN: independent investigative journalist. Suffered threats and subsequently stabbed on 30 September 2000 following several critical articles about the governor of Khakassia, north Mongolia.
*Andrei BARS: a journalist for the Yekaterinburg newspaper Uralsky rabochy. Allegedly suffered beatings by two unknown men who attacked him as he attempted to interview residents in Kachkanar. Thought to be carried out by a local gangster who had been the subject of a protest letter by Kachkanar locals which had been published in the newspaper.
*Oleg LURIYE: journalist for Novaia Gazeta. Attacked by unknown persons on 17 December 2000. Luriye believes that the attack was related to his reports on corruption among government officials as there was no attempt at robbery.
*Ruslan MUSAYEV: Chechen reporter for the Associated Press. Arrested on 5 September 2000 and held overnight by Russian military forces in southern Chechnya. Claims to have been beaten and only released after paying $600 ransome. He is said to suffered multiple bruising.
*Oleg SAFANOV: deputy editor-in-chief of Novaya gazeta, in the Saratov Oblast region. On 23 August 2000 was reportedly set upon by an unknown man who beat him into near unconsciousness with a heavy item. Thought to be connected to Safanov's articles on local corruption.
*Magomet TEKEYEV: editor in chief of the daily Gorskiye Vedomosti in Karatchayevo-Tcherkessie. Attacked on 14 October 2000 with a club and a bag filled with nails at his residence in Tcherkesk, the Karatchayevo-Tcherkessie republic's capital. It is thought that the attack may be linked to his article alleging corruption in the republic.

Brief detention
*Irina GREBNEVA (F): age 57, editor in chief of the weekly Arsenievskie Vesti. On 27 July 2000 served with a 5-day prison term on charges of "slight hooliganism" for an article in her newspaper entitled "Ripped Elections" which contained transcripts of telephone conversations between Vladivostok Governor and his deputies which allegedly contained a number of "unprintable" words and phrases which Grebneva reprinted without deletions. The transcript allegedly contained evidence that the Governor and his deputies had conspired to tamper with the results of the 18 June mayoral elections. Grebneva was not granted leave to appeal and staged a hunger-strike in prison.
*Furat VALEEV: editor-in-chief of Vetchernij Neftekamsk. Imprisoned for a 10-day term on 4 October 2000 for "disrespect of the court" and held in Neftekamsk prison. His arrest is linked to an article published by Valeev in May alleging corruption by Bashkortostan officials. He was apparently called to appear in court, a summons he says he did not receive. He thus did not turn up and was arrested at his home by police and sent immediately to jail.

Released: trial process ongoing
Andrei BABITSKY: journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Disappeared around 15 January 2000 in Chechen capital, Grozny. Held by Russian forces in Dagestan until late February, when, after interventions from Acting President Putin, he was allowed to return to Moscow where he was put under "town arrest" pending investigation into claims of forged documentation. He claims to have suffered beatings and witnessed abuse of other prisoners during his detention from mid-January to 3 February at a Russian detention centre in Chechnya. On 6 July 2000 Babitsky was formally charged with deliberately using false identity papers, carrying a maximum of 6 months in prison. On 6 October he was found guilty of falsifying papers and fined an equivalent of $475. However, that same day the fine was waived under an amnesty announced by the Duma earlier in 2000. On 13 December 2000 an appeals court in Dagestan upheld the guilty verdict and ordered him to pay a fine of around $300 for holding a fake passport.
Grigory Pasko: journalist working for the Russian Navy's Pacific Ocean region's newspaper, Boyevaya Vakhta. Arrested in November 1997 on accusation of possession of state secrets with the intent of passing them abroad. His arrest was linked to his reporting on the dumping of radioactive waste into the Japan Sea by the Russian Navy. He was acquitted of espionage on 20 July 1999. A three-year sentence related to military misconduct was passed the same day, but he was immediately freed under the terms of a previous amnesty. International PEN campaigned for his release, considering him to be detained solely for having disclosed the dumping of nuclear material, and thus in breach of his right to freedom of expression. On 21 November, the Russian Supreme Court accepted prosecutors' appeal against the acquittal of the treason charges and Pasko once again faces the possibility of imprisonment, or, at the very least, another 18 months of tedious trial hearings. In December 2000, Pasko reported that he had received threats and feared that he could be attacked. He suggested that the Federal Security Service was responsible. Honorary Member of: PEN USA West, German, Netherlands, Finland PEN Centres

*Nematulloi NURULLO
: journalist for Dzhumkhuriiayat. Said to have been beaten by police in Dushanbe, c. October 2000, leading to concussion and hearing loss.

Brief detention: trial pending

Nina SHMELYOVA (f): journalist and campaigner for the rights of the Russian community in Ashkhabad. Sentenced to six years in prison on charges of forging her citizenship documents, a charge which she denies. Released pending trial due in July 2000. The WiPC is following up the case.

Killed: investigation
*Georgiy GONGAZDE: age 31. Editor of the internet newspaper Ukrayinskaya Pravda (Ukrainian Truth). Disappeared in the evening of 16 September 2000. Thought to have been either abducted on orders of a criminal organisation or to be held in police custody. His disappearance could be linked to his web-site's coverage of reported corruption by government officials. A special commission has been set up into his disappearance but Ukrayinskaya Pravda remains concerned that the authorities are covering up details and believes that Gongazde had been kidnapped. In November 2000, a decapitated and severely mutilated corpse was discovered in Taraschanskyi, close to Kiev. A medallion and ring thought to belong to Gongazde are said to have been found on the body. An x-ray of the corpse's hands is said to have showed one containing fragments of metal. Gongazde had been wounded while covering the conflict in Abkhazia, and suffered shrapnel wounds to his hand. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's office claims that the body is not Gongazde's. On 28 November, Olexander Moroz, the leader of the Opposition Socialist Party accused President Kuchma of being implicated in the disappearance, citing audio tapes in which the President is said to have called for Gongadze's elimination. Kuchma has subsequently threatened to sue Moroz for libel.

*Valentina VASILCHENKO (F): journalist for the Cherkassy weekly Antenna. Assaulted at her home on 14 August 2000 by unidentified men who beat her, leading to head injuries and concussion. It is thought that the attack was linked to her reports on local police corruption and ill-treatment. A police investigation has taken place but there are questions surrounding how intensely it is being carried out.

Main Case
Profession: former journalist Date of arrest March 1999 Sentence 15 years Expires March 2014
Details of arrest: Deported from Ukraine in March 1999 on accusation of involvement in a series of explosions in Tashkent. Several others arrested in connection with these events. (see Makhmudov, below) Trial details: It is thought that his arrest is linked to his association with the exiled opposition leader Muhammed Salih and that the charges are linked to his work on Erk, the opposition party's newspaper, although it has been banned since 1994. Some of the defendants have testified to having been tortured under interrogation including beatings, electric shock and threat of rape of female family members. Professional details: Former contributor to Erk. Brother of exiled opposition leader, Muhammad Salih Place of detention: Jaslyk Detention Camp. Health concerns: reports of torture lead to concern for well being. Other Details: Brother Rashid Bekzhon arrested alongside him. Another brother, Komil Bekzhon, a farmer with no known political connections, disappeared in May 1999. Honorary Member: English PEN.
Profession: writer and opposition activist Date of arrest 19 February 1999 Sentence 14 years Expires 3 August 2013
Details of arrest: Arrested 19 February 1999 after a series of explosions in Tashkent. Several others arrested in connection with these events. Trial details: Held in incommunicado detention from February to May 1999. Subsequently charged 1) Article 158 Uzbek Criminal Code - Threatening the president and 2) Article 159.3 UCC - Threatening the constitutional order. It is thought that his arrest is linked to his association with the exiled opposition leader Muhammed Salih. However access to key documents has been denied. Appears that some of the charges against the defendants are linked to their writings in and distribution of Erk the newspaper of the opposition Erk party, banned in 1994. At the trial, Makhmudov testified to having been tortured under interrogation including beatings, electric shock and threat of rape of female family members. On 3 August 1999, sentenced to 14 years. Professional details: Well-known writer. Member of the Uzbek Writers Union and Uzbek Cultural Foundation. Previous political imprisonment: imprisoned between 1994 and 1996 for alleged embezzlement and abuse of office, charges which at the time were considered by PEN and Amnesty International to have been fabricated and that his arrest was because of his association with Salih. This view supported by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary detentions. Place of detention: Jaslyk Detention Camp Health concerns: reports of torture lead to concern for well being. Honorary Member: English, American and USA West
Profession: leading opposition party member and contributor to newspaper Date of arrest March 1999 Sentence 15 years Expires March 2014
Details of arrest: Deported from Ukraine in March 1999 on accusation of involvement in a series of explosions in Tashkent. Several others arrested in connection with these events. (see Makhmudov, above) Trial details: It is thought that his arrest is linked to his association with the exiled opposition leader Muhammed Salih and that the charges are linked to his work on Erk, the opposition party's newspaper, although it has been banned since 1994. Some of the defendants have testified to having been tortured under interrogation including beatings, electric shock and threat of rape of female family members. Professional details: Former contributor to Erk and leading member of the Erk opposition party. Place of detention: not known to PEN. Health concerns: reports of torture lead to concern for well being. Honorary Member: English PEN

Shadi MARDIEV: D.o.b: c. 1937. radio journalist and contributor to the satirical journal Mushtum. Sentenced on 8 June 1998 to eleven years in prison on charges of defamation and extortion under the Uzbek Criminal Code. Upheld by the Supreme Court on 3 August 1998. Convicted of defaming a local businessman in a satirical radio broadcast in November 1997. The subject of the broadcast claims that Mardiev had previously threatened to air the programme in an attempt to force the businessman to give him money, thus the "extortion" conviction. A well-known radio journalist with 34 years experience, Mardiev is the director of the programme "Man and Law" which is frequently critical of state officials. He is also known for satirising the government in his writings for the journal Mushtum. Believed to be appealing his sentence to the Supreme Court. Reported to suffer brain haemorrhages and that his imprisonment has contributed to a decline in his health. Thought to remain detained as of December 2000.

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