Saturday, November 10, 2007

In a move that demonstrates its utter disregard for the rights and safety of trade unions and their leaders, the government has formally shut down its investigation into the vicious June stabbing attack on Kaliningrad Dockworkers' leader Mikhail Chesalin. Having ignored the worldwide demand that the case be re-qualified as a more serious offense, which would have brought significantly greater investigative resources to bear in the search, the Regional Prosecutor has now given a free pass to Chesalin's attackers. In doing so the authorities have communicated clearly that those who would use violence to silence workers and their leaders for defending their rights may do so with impunity. Despite thousands of appeals from all over the world, including letters to President Putin from a number of international trade union federations, the authorities and port management have maintained a deathly silence, preferring to pretend that nothing has happened.
In the meantime, discrimination against and repression of dockworker union members continues. Port management continues to flout the law, and ignore even those minimal requests from legal authorities to cease its violation of basic workers' rights. This includes refusing Chesalin and other workers' representatives access to workplace territory, and refusing to provide them with information about the workplace which by law must be available to all workers and their unions.
Please send a message to Russian law enforcement authorities that such systematic violations of workers' rights will not be tolerated. Demand that the investigation into the attack on Chesalin be re-opened and treated with the gravity that such an horrendous violation warrants. And demand that the violation of Kaliningrad dockworkers' basic freedom of association cease.
You can join this campaign to write to the Kaniningrad Regional Prosecutor, the General Prosecutor of Russia and the Governor of Kaliningrad by going to

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