Derechos Humanos y Defensa de la defensa

The UIA-IROL Expresses Deep Concern and Calls for Immediate Release of Russian Lawyer, Dmitry Talantov

The UIA-IROL has learned of and is deeply concerned by the arrest and detention of Dmitry Talantov, a renowned Russian human rights lawyer and President of the Bar Association of the Udmurtia region of Russia. The UIA-IROL calls for Mr. Talantov’s immediate release and the dismissal of all criminal charges against him.

According to the information received, Mr. Talantov was arrested on June 28 and charged under the recently enacted Article 207.3 (2) (d) of the Russian Criminal Code, which criminalizes the “dissemination of knowingly false information about use of the Russian Armed Forces abroad.”

During the interrogation, Mr. Talantov was denied access to a lawyer. On the same day, the authorities reportedly conducted searches of the several premises connected with Dmitry Talantov - including the Bar Association’s office - and confiscated data storage devices that contained information protected by lawyer-client confidentiality. On June 29, in a closed hearing, the Moscow Cheryomushki District court imposed pre-trial detention on Mr. Talantov until August 21, which has now been extended until September 23.

Mr. Talantov’s arrest and detention is said to be based on his Facebook post criticizing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 of this year. In his post, Mr. Talantov used photos and videos of destruction wrought by Russia in the cities of Kharkov, Mariupol and Bucha, which he described as “Nazi practices” on the part of the Russian military.

It should also be noted that, at the time of his arrest, Mr. Talantov was representing the imprisoned journalist Ivan Safronov, who is on trial for alleged high treason because of articles he published about the Russian Armed Forces — including, according to Mr. Safronov, based on information from publicly available sources.

The UIA-IROL believes that Mr. Talantov is being prosecuted solely for the exercise of his freedom of expression. The UIA-IROL notes that freedom of expression is recognized by many tenets and provisions of international law. These include article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Russia has ratified, and Principle 23 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The UIA-IROL further notes that the March 4 amendments to the criminal code introducing harsh prison terms for those convicted of disseminating “knowingly fake” war news as well as “discrediting” and “calling for obstruction” of the use of the Russian armed forces”, were denounced by UN Experts [ 1 ] as a tool for silencing human rights defenders, journalists and civil society representatives [ 2 ] .

The UIA-IROL therefore calls for the immediate release from prison of Mr. Dmitry Talantov and the dismissal of all charges against him.

The UIA-IROL takes this opportunity to reiterate its support of and solidarity with all Russian lawyers and bar associations who stand and defend the core values of the legal profession and its main role in the defense of the rule of law and human rights.