Russia: Leading indigenous activist detained, house searched as he is to chair event
Rodion Sulyandziga is an indigenous activist well-known internationally. In 2014 he was one of the lead organisers of the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and was prevented from leaving the country, sparking a diplomatic scandal in the UN. Today, he was scheduled to chair the “Aborigen Forum” seminar in Moscow. In the early hours of Sunday morning, police conducted a search of his apartment in Moscow, he was subsequently taken to the police department in Moscow’s Kon’kovo district, where he is being questioned.
UPDATE Monday 12 December, 3:30 PM Moscow time: The interrogation has ended, Rodion has left the police station.
UPDATE Monday 12 December, 3 PM Moscow time: Rodion is again being questioned by the police for several hours.
UPDATE Sunday 11 December, 5 PM Moscow time: Rodion has been released, but his notebook has been seized
Participants of the seminar, many of whom have flown in from remote regions, appeal to the public to intervene:
We, the participants of "Aborigen Forum" an informal association of experts from among indigenous peoples of the [Russian] North, Siberia and the Far East have to inform you that in the morning of today, December 11th, 2016, before the start our educational seminar, we received the unexpected news that a house search has been conducted in the apartment of Rodion Sulyandziga, who was scheduled to open and chair our seminar.
Currently, according to our information, he has been taken to the police station of Moscow’s Konkovo district for further questioning.
We take note of the fact that a few days before the workshop, two of its participants, Gennady Shchukin and V. Shchadrin had been approached by the President of RAIPON [Translator remark: the now state-controlled Association of indigenous peoples of the North] Grigori Ledkov and Vice-President of RAIPON Vladimir. Klimov, with the request to invite representatives of RAIPON to attend the seminar as observers, which was eventually denied.
We are deeply troubled by the actions of the law enforcement organs against an indigenous activist, who is conducting substantial educational work for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and we urge
- The authorities and law enforcement organs to clarify this fact and to stop the pressure on the leaders of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation;
- Civil society to express solidarity and to support our appeal.
The workshop participants of Aborigen Forum.
11 December 2016, Moscow