Use of Drug Enforcement to Silence Political Opponents
"It is important to note that Russian law enforcement agencies—including the Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS), which has an annual budget of $73 million35—often use drug charges as a way to silence political opponents, including human rights activists and journalists. A few examples:
" Since August 2011 Russian law enforcement agencies have been trying to suppress activities of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation (ARF), an organization that promotes and defends human rights of people who use drugs in Russia. First, ARF activist Irina Teplinskaya was planted with a tablet of methadone when she crossed the border from Ukraine to Russia in August 2011. Then in early 2012 the ARF website was shut down by the FDCS, which claimed that the information about OST posted on the ARF website should be categorized as drug propaganda, and thus prohibited under Russian drug laws36.
" Political activists Taisiya Osipova was prosecuted based on falsified drug charges by an anti-extremist police unit. In December 2011, despite obvious violations of procedural and substantial laws, Osipova was sentenced to 10 years in prison37.
" In April 2011 Evgeny Konyshev was planted with drugs by representatives of the 'City Without Drugs' Foundation after he openly testified on a federal TV channel about the Foundation’s ineffective and inhumane practices under the pretence of drug treatment. Despite multiple violations of procedural and substantial laws committed during the pre-trial investigation, by the end of February 2012 Konyshev remained in pre-trial detention facing a charge of possession of 'extra large' quantity of heroin (2.72 grams) with no intent to sell38.
" In 2010 anticorruption activist Denis Matveev was sentenced to six years imprisonment based on false accusation of drug trafficking after he reported corruption in his city involving police officers and members of the mayor’s office39."
Merkinaite, S. A war against people who use drugs: the costs. Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN): Vilnius, Lithuania, 2012.