The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint of a civil activist from Mari El Pavel Tolmachev for illegal wiretapping. This information was announced on December 1 by his representative — co-chairman of the human rights organization "Man and Law" Sergey Poduzov.
According to Poduzov, employees of the Center for Combating Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Mari El conducted a continuous audio recording and wiretapping of activist's telephone conversations from April 2012 to the end of 2013. From April to September 2012, the police officers had no legitimate reasons for this.
In the complaint, the activist and human rights defender protest the accusation of libeling the head of Mari El Leonid Markelov (resigned and arrested on charges of corruption in April 2017) during a rally in September 2012. The court found Tolmachev guilty and sentenced him to 80 hours of compulsory work. The activist believes that he criticized Markelov's work. The human rights activist asserts that limits of permissible criticism of the activities of public politicians may be wider than those of private individuals.
"This case addresses a difficult and very closed area — conduct of operational search activity against citizens, especially civil activists of Mari El," Sergey Poduzov said. "Today, this activity is developed in such a way that any person critical of government becomes an object not only of close attention of the internal affairs bodies, but also of arbitrary interference in private life. Besides, this case continues a series of cases in which civic activists of the republic are prosecuted for criticizing the head of the region. Mari El has formed a vicious practice of criminal prosecution for expressing the opinion against public politicians and officials."
On September 8, 2012, the activist of the "Left Front" Pavel Tolmachev spoke at a rally in Yoshkar-Ola. According to the management of the Investigative Committee for Mari El, he "claimed that the head of the Republic of Mari El is associated with bandits and is guilty of committing a number of crimes". During the investigation Tolmachev apologized to Leonid Markelov in his blog.
In November 2012, along with another activist Andrei Svistunov, Tolmachev was suspected in preparing riots and calling for overthrow of the system. Pavel Tolmachev was not charged. Now the civil activist is outside Mari El.
Dmitry Lyubimov, «7x7»