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(en) Russia, Freedom to union activist Valentin Urusov!

Date Fri, 06 Mar 2009 08:43:29 +0200

Dear friends! In July of 2008, in city of Udachniy in Sakha (Yakutia) Republic workers of
the biggest Russian diamond mining company ALROSA formed an independent trade union, which
became a member of the independent trade union association Sotsprof. During two months
more than 1000 workers joined the union. But 3rd of September 2008 leader of the union
Valentin Urusov was arrested with drug possession charges. Drugs were planted on Valentin,
in order to destroy union and any resistance of the workers. 26th of December Urusov was
sentenced to 6 years to be served in a work camp. ---- City of Udachniy has 15 000
inhabitants and is located in Russian Far North, 20 kilometers from the polar circle.
Closest major city is at a distance of 600 kilometers. City is totally dependent on
diamond monopolist ALROSA and local authorities. ALROSA accounts for approximately 25% of
the world's rough diamond supply and 97% of Russia's rough diamond production.

Workers of ALROSA started to demand better working conditions in spring
of 2008. Already for many years drivers of the union had to work 70-130
hours overtime a month without a proper overtime benefit. Workers in
mines work with outdated equipment and without air heating. Health
problems due poisonous air are usual amongst miners.

As demands were not heard by the administration, from 25th to 27th of
August workers were in a hungerstrike. After administration announced
that they will form a committee for negotiation, hungerstrike was
halted. 30th of August more than 500 workers joined a union meeting in

Committee should have finished work 5th of September, but 3rd of
September Urusov was arrested with drug possession charges. Arrest,
during which 70 grams of drugs allegedly possessed by Urusov, was
conducted personally by chief of Mirny department of UFSNK
(Administration of Federal Service of Drug Control) S. Rudov, who
traveled 600 kilometers specially for the occasion. Witnesses were
vice-director of Aykhal'sk mining plant department of economical safety
G. Pustosvetov and his driver.

Urusov himself announced to his lawyer, that he was practically
kidnapped from doorsteps of his own home. He was taken to 60 kilometer
distance from his home, where one of the officers of drug police (UFSNK)
forced him to confess that drugs were indeed his, by shooting three
warning shots next to his head and promising, that his death will be
announced as an attempt to escape. Right now Valentin Urusov is waiting
for a result of appeal in remand prison of Yakutsk. Valentin is also
suffering from kidney problems, but is not receiving medical aid. His
family is in a need of financial help, and human rights organizations
are gathering funds to have him a lawyer. If you want to donate, see
intructions from http://avtonom.org/index.php?nid=2250

For more information, write to Anarchist Black Cross of Moscow, abc-msk
(at) riseup.net, www.avtonom.org/abc

Please send the following appeal for Urusov by e-mail, even better if
you may send it by fax as well:

To president of ALROSA Sergey Vybornov

phone: +7 (411-36) 3-01-80

fax: +7(411-36) 3-04-51, +7 (495) 745-80-61

e-mail: aho@centr.alrosa-mir.ru

To president of Sakha (Yakutia) Republic Vyacheslav Shtyrov

fax: +7(4112) 43-50-55

e-mail: upo@gov.sakha.ru, ud-odto@gov.sakha.ru

Dear mr. Sergey Vybornov!

Dear mr. Vyacheslav Shtyrov!

26th of December 2008 district court of Mirny in Sakha (Yakutia)
Republic sentenced Valentin Urusov, worker of URMSU "Almazenergoremont"
of ALROSA, leader of trade union "Profsvoboda" which is a member of
Sotsprof, to 6 years in prison with drug possession charges. Valentin
was not using nor possessing any drugs, and that he was framed up by
officers of UFSNK.

Lawyer of Valentin Urusov is confirming, that court was not
investigating all testimony which would have proven Valentin innocent,
and court decision was also distorting evidence given by witnesses of
the prosecution.

There are number of contradictions in the investigation. Also according
to Urusov, during arrest and confiscation of drugs, he was assaulted and
threatened with murder. It is characteristic for the case, that director
of the Aykhal'sk mining plant department of economical safety
G.Pustosvetov was witnessing the arrest.

Thus we have grounds to believe, that arrest and sentence of Urusov are
a revenge for his union activity in ALROSA and a measure to scare off
workers of the company. We know, that a number of activists of the union
were threatened and repressed as well, with lay-offs, threats and
deprivation of a number of payments.

We demand to stop repressions against workers of union activists of AK
ALROSA. We demand to stop repressions of union activists - workers of AK
ALROSA, to free Valentin Urusov, to restore laid off workers and to stop
harassment of trade union "Profsvoboda" in the company.

Date Signature

(source: http://avtonom.org/index.php?nid=2311)
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