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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘matvey chlenov’

Russian Jewish School Teacher Freed

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Prison authorities in Russia released a Jewish schoolteacher whose controversial bribery conviction triggered protests by leading politicians.

The teacher, Ilya Farber, was released Friday from the Tver correctional prison after serving three years of a 7-year sentence for accepting $13,000 in bribes.

“The campaign to resolve the issue of [political] prisoners just got another devoted activist,” Farber, 40, told RIA Novosti after his release.

Farber, who took money from a contractor in need of Farber’s signature, has denied any wrongdoing and claims he was set up. He was initially convicted in 2011 and sentenced to nine years. He was retried in 2012 amid claims that his prosecutor made anti-Semitic comments in court. The retrial resulted in a seven-year sentence.

Protests did not abate and opposition figures and Russian Jewish leaders said the case was typical of miscarriages of justice under President Vladimir Putin.

The prosecution petitioned the court to reduce Farber’s sentence in September, days after Putin told a television network that the sentence was “egregious.”

Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress, told JTA that while his organization was pleased to see Farber set free, the trial also showed that “the old prejudices are very much alive.”

He added that Farber’s first trial “demonstrated that idealism by a Jewish person is still perceived with hostility and mistrust by the local population” and that this “created a profound outcry and mobilization among the Jewish community of Russia.”

Witnesses said they heard the prosecutor ask the jury during the first trial: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” The statement was interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

Chlenov also said that more than 700 people donated money to the Russian Jewish Congress to help Farber’s family.

Russian Human Rights Council to Review Jewish Teacher’s Graft Sentence

Friday, August 9th, 2013

The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

Farber was a director at the club.

Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/russian-human-rights-council-to-review-jewish-teachers-graft-sentence/2013/08/09/

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