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Russian unionist freed from prison

7 March, 2013On 6 March a Russian court ordered to free Valentin Urusov, a union leader at diamond mines in Sakha, Russia, from prison. Unions in Russia and across the world have always underlined Urusov’s innocence.

The local court in Sakha, Russia, ordered to free Valentin Urusov, jailed trade union leader, from prison. He will pay a fine and do community service instead of serving the rest of his 5-year term. The court decision will take effect in 10 days.

Urusov was jailed in 2008 under what many call a fabricated case for his successful attempts to organize workers at diamond mines in the northern province of Sakha in Russia.

During one of the mobilization campaigns in September 2008, Urusov was kidnapped by local police officers. He was beaten and threatened to death and later placed under arrest. The trumped-up charges—drug trafficking—were proven wrong by the decision of the Sakha Republic’s Supreme Court in May 2009. Urusov was released, but later arrested again. He will finally be free now, but not cleared of all charges.

Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR), a union center, offered Urusov employment. KTR representative also claims they will not stop until Urusov is cleared of all charges and completely rehabilitated.

Earlier the International Labour Organization recommended investigating allegations of anti-union persecution of Valentin Urusov, and releasing him immediately if these allegations turn out to be true.

IndustriALL supported Urusov and joined the IUF in asking the jury to nominate him for the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2013 for his courageous and praiseworthy union work.

Valentin Urusov has already talked by phone with his supporters and thanked them for their solidarity through all these years.