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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

04/04/1997

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Human Rights Chief Proposed

President Boris Yeltsin has nominated Deputy Justice Minister Lyudmila Zavadskaya for the post of independent human rights commissioner, the Kremlin press service said Thursday. In a message to Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of the State Duma, Yeltsin said Zavadskaya had played an important role in drafting laws on the constitutional court and referendums, and had represented Russia at numerous international human rights conferences. As deputy justice minister, Zavadskaya ""is devoting herself to the defense of human rights,"" the message said. In December, the Duma, parliament's lower house, passed a law paving the way for the appointment of an independent human rights commissioner, who will serve for five years. If the Duma rejects Zavadskaya, Yeltsin will have to put forward a new candidate. In March 1995, nationalist and pro-communist deputies voted to oust Sergei Kovalyov, a former Soviet dissident, from his post as chairman of the Duma's human rights commission.

Religious Information Libel Suit Goes to Trial

A libel case that is expected to become a landmark battle between ""traditional"" and ""nontraditional"" religions in Russia opened Thursday in the Khoroshevsky municipal court in northwestern Moscow. A diverse crowd of conservative Orthodox Church members, parents of young Russians who have run away from home to join sects and a smaller group of members of religious sects, filled the courtroom to overflowing. The case focuses on a brochure by Alexander Dvorkin, of the Russian Orthodox Church's education department, which attacks the activities of nontraditional sects operating in Russia. The brochure, ""10 Questions to an Obtrusive Stranger, or Handbook for Those Who Do Not Want To Be Recruited,"" contains information about the recruitment practices and other activities of ""totalitarian"" sects such as the Church of Scientology, the Unification Church, the White Brotherhood, Hare Krishna and the Theotokos Center.

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