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  • Sutyajnik - A Brief Introduction
  • Legal Counselling
  • Representation of Individuals and Organizations in Domestic Courts
  • The Defense of Human Rights in International Forum
  • General projects
  • Sutyajniks teach
  • Sutyajniks are taught
  • Publications
  • In the Media
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  • This Report in PDF format (121 kb)
  • This Report in Russian
  • The 2003 Report
  • The 2002 Report
  • 1. Sutyajnik — A Brief Introduction


    What are we?  SUTYAJNIK is a non-governmental human rights organization founded in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 1994.  Sutyajnik is a human rights resource center that helps citizens and organizations realize rights guaranteed in the Russian Constitution and international treaties, by litigating public interest cases, educating in human rights, and informing the public about the mechanisms for human rights protection.  One of Sutyajnik’s principal goals is to defend human rights by working to bring domestic legislation and practice into conformity with international and constitutional standards in the following areas:

    — freedom of association;

    — rights of minorities and discrimination;

    — freedom from torture;

    — freedoms from unlawful detention, arrest, and forced medical treatment;

    — freedom of expression; 

    — freedom of religion;

    — other rights and freedoms.

    Who are we?  SUTYAJNIK is a group of lawyers and senior law students dedicated to protecting the traditional areas of human rights. Sutyajnik was founded in 1994 by Sergei Beliaev, who remains its president.

    SUTYAJNIK’S Board of Directors:

    Tatyana Merzlyakova, Human Rights Ombudsman for Sverdlovsk oblast

    Ludmila Alexeeva, Chair of the Moscow Helsinki Grou;

    Demyan Bakhrakh, Professor of Law at the Urals State Law Academy

    Kathryn Hendley, Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School

    William Anspach, partner in the union-side labor law firm Friedman & Wolf

    Irene Stevenson, Field Representative, Solidarity Center / AFL-CIO in Central Asia


    What do we do?  SUTYAJNIK carries out its mission by:

    •  Providing legal aid, by telephone, at public walk-in centers, via the internet.

    •  Providing registration and other legal resource services to NGOs in the Urals region.

    •  Representing individuals and NGOs in judicial and administrative forums in both strategic public interest litigation and conventional cases.

    •  Conducting public issue campaigns and lobbying.

    •  Sponsoring legal seminars and conferences.

    •  Providing clinical legal education by supervising law students who consult and represent clients in strategic and conventional cases.

    •  Operating a news agency for human rights NGOs.

    •  Challenging legislative and administrative enactments in the Russian courts.

    •  Preparing and litigating cases in the European Court of Human Rights.


    Who is supporting and has supported us in the past? The following organizations: American Center for International Labor Solidarity, USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, Eurasia Foundation, Know-How Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Institute of International Education, Open Society Institute-Moscow, Open Society Institute-Budapest, John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Civil Liberties Foundation, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the European Council, European Commission, etc.


    What have we achieved?

    In Domestic Forums: Among our most significant victories of the past years in changing practices in the application of laws, the following may be singled out: 

    • Access to Justice: Sutyajnik secured a decision by the Constitutional Court that ruled unconstitutional the provision of the Russian Administrative Code that denied the right to appeal administrative decisions.

    • Property Rights: The widespread practice of airport Security Service personnel confiscating and destroying passengers’ possessions (including items which transport is forbidden) was declared unlawful by the Sverdlovsk oblast court.

    • Right to Liberty: The practice of compensation for moral damages in connection with illegal detention for less than 3 hours was established by a decision by the Verh-Isetskiy district court of Ekaterinburg.

    • Right to Association: A precedent was set obligating the Sverdlovsk Oblast’s Main Administration of the Russian Ministry of Justice to refund fees paid by NGOs when registration is refused.

    • Right to Life and Freedom from Torture: In February 2004 the Supreme Court of Russia upheld the decision regarding two militiamen, who had been sentenced for power abuse that  resulted in torture during interrogation and the death of the interrogated person.

    IT'S TIME // 2004 Annual Report

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