Lilia Shibanova, EPDE board member and founder of the Russian election observation network GOLOS was arrested by Belarusian boarder control at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border in the evening of May 12, 2016 and was forced to leave the train directing to Moscow. Lilia Shibanova who is also a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation was on her way to the session of the Council and to a conference on election observation in Moscow.
EPDE assesses this incident as an ongoing intimidation and pressure on independent election observers ahead of Parliamentary elections in the Russian Federation in September 2016. Each single action against independent election observation increases and reinforces doubts over the quality and fairness of these upcoming elections. We call on the authorities of the Russian Federation and of Belarus to immediately release Lilia Shibanova and to clarify the situation.