Oyub Titiev in the courtroom. Photo by Patimat Makhmudova for the Caucasian Knot

18 January 2019, 08:29

Impunity for persecutions of rights defenders in Caucasus noted in the HRW's report

The federal authorities have failed to stop the persecutions of the employees of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", launched by the Chechen authorities, and left without reaction the violation of LGBTs' rights in the republic, the annual report of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) asserts.

The international HRW has released today its report on human rights in the world in 2018. In the section on the situation in Russia, a separate chapter is dedicated to Chechnya.

"In Chechnya, local authorities practiced arbitrary detentions, torture and violent disappearances of alleged jihadists and disloyal citizens; they also used collective punishments," the report says.

The authors paid particular attention to the prosecution of Oyub Titiev, the head of the Grozny office of the HRC "Memorial", and the arson of the HRC's property in two regions adjacent to Chechnya that followed Mr Titiev's arrest.

On January 11, Oyub Titiev, the head of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" office in Grozny,  was arrested on the charge of drug possession, and his case is being considered by the court since July 19. He claims that the drugs were planted to him by law enforcers.

The staff of the HRC "Memorial" and Titiev's advocates received anonymous threats and were shadowed by Chechen law enforcers; while the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, "publicly threatened rights defenders, promising to 'break the backbone of our enemies'," the report says. The investigation into the attack on Sirazhutdin Datsiev, the head of the Dagestani branch of the HRC "Memorial", also gave no fruit.

Sirazhudin Datsiev was beaten up on March 28 near his home and hospitalized. Rights defenders conducted their own inquiry into the attack, and, according to the preliminary results thereof, there are grounds to believe that law enforcers could be the attackers.

The federal centre has failed to ensure an efficient inquiry into the gay raids held in Chechnya in 2017, the HRW's report states. At the same time, "new attacks on LGBTs undertaken by their own relatives and republic's officials" were registered: in Saint Petersburg, they tried to kidnap the native of Chechnya, who left the republic because of threats due to his alleged sexual orientation; for a similar reason, a young woman was exposed in Chechnya to illegal detention, prolonged keeping in isolation and ill-treatment, the report says.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 17, 2019 at 09:10 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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