Russia ombudsman says president-elect must stand by law, freedoms

[JURIST] The Russian human rights ombudsman [backgrounder] said Tuesday that Russian President-elect Dmitry Medvedev [campaign website, in Russian; BBC profile] has to honor his declared respect for Russian law and freedoms so that Russian courts and police will follow suit. Vladimir Lukin [party profile], a member of the liberal Yabloko party who was appointed as the country's ombudsman in 1997, said that Medvedev must ensure those freedoms and the proper operation of the legal system at all levels of government. Lower courts and small police agencies will not follow the law if it is not enforced up through the highest levels of government, he said. Lukin raised similar concerns in a meeting [transcript] last month with current President Vladimir Putin, stressing that the Russian judicial system is still failing to ensure uniformed enforcement of laws and individual rights. Reuters has more.

The Russian presidential election election has prompted significant public criticism. Election observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) [official website] Monday expressed reservations [JURIST report] about the fairness of the poll, pointing to media restrictions and alleged polling irregularities that hampered opposition candidates. Before the election, Amnesty International expressed concern [JURIST report] that authorities were harassing rights activists and journalists, monitoring opposition demonstrations, and said that police used violence in breaking up some opposition events while allowing pro-government events to proceed without incident.

 

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