10 January 2018, 22:47

OSCE/ODIHR Director voices concern over arrest of and charges against head of Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today voiced serious concerns regarding the arrest and detention of Oyub Titiev, Director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya, in the North Caucasus republic of the Russian Federation, yesterday.

‘’I am deeply concerned regarding the detainment, grounds for arrest and the physical and mental well-being of Oyub Titiev in custody,” the ODIHR Director said. ‘’Given Oyub Titiev’s reputation as a prominent and dedicated human rights defender, I urge the Russian authorities to ensure his human rights, including access to a lawyer and the rights to a fair trial, to physical integrity and dignity, and to protection from judicial harassment, criminalization and arbitrary arrest.’’

The sixty-year-old Titiev was detained by police in the town of Kurchaloi yesterday morning and, after initially being denied access, his lawyer was allowed to visit him only later in the afternoon. He is reportedly being held on drug-related charges.  

‘’This arrest raises particular concerns given recent comments by Chechen officials criticizing and condemning the work of human rights defenders,” Gísladóttir said. “OSCE participating States, including the Russian Federation, have underlined the right of everyone to know and act upon their rights, and to seek and receive assistance from others in defending human rights. The Russian authorities have an obligation to ensure that law enforcement bodies do not abuse the law to prevent human rights defenders from carrying out this human rights work.’’

Original statement posted on OSCE website on January 10, 2017.

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