Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Russian authorities to engage in "constructive dialogue" with critics instead of "abusing" counterterrorism laws to silence them.
The New York-based watchdog issued the call on Wednesday after Russian military courts earlier this month handed down "harsh" guilty verdicts in three "deeply flawed" terrorism cases in which the defendants claimed that they were detained incommunicado, tortured, and received other "ill-treatment to extract confessions."
A total of 18 defendants in the separate cases on February 5 and 10 were sentenced to prison terms of up to 23 years.
HRW said in a statement that the trials were also marred by the prosecution and judges' refusal to investigate the defendants' "credible claims of abuse," and by their reliance on "dubious expert analysis and use of anonymous, 'secret witnesses.'"
Source: VOA news