01 July 2019, 22:57
HRC "Memorial" recognizes five leaders of Ingush protests as political prisoners
Akhmed Barakhoev, Musa Malsagov, Ismail Nalgiev, Malsag Uzhakhov, and Barakh Chemurziev, who were arrested after the March rallies in Magas, should be immediately released, and the officials responsible for their persecution should be brought to justice, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" declares.
On March 26, without a sanction of the authorities, residents of Ingushetia extended their protest action in a square in Magas, and that resulted in clashes between protestors and law enforcers. Three leaders of the protests, including Akhmed Barakhoev, Musa Malsagov, and Barakh Chemurziev, were arrested in a criminal case on incitement to mass riots and use of violence against a public officer. Malsag Uzhakhov, the head of the Ingush Council of Teips (family clans), and Ismail Nalgiev, the coordinator of the public organization "Ingushetia's Choice", were also arrested. According to the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot", at least 96 activists were persecuted after the protests in Ingushetia.
The protests were provoked by the agreement on the Chechen-Ingush border, as a result of which, according to activists, Ingushetia lost its lands.
The HRC "Memorial" called the accusations brought against the opposition leaders groundless. Investigators presented their three arguments in favour of the fact that Akhmed Barakhoev, Musa Malsagov, and Barakh Chemurziev were the organizers of the protestors' attack on law enforcers. Firstly, it was the leaders of the protests who decided not to leave the place of the protest until their demands were met. Secondly, the organizers called on the protesters for resilience in the event of an attack by the law enforcers. Thirdly, before the rally, Akhmed Barakhoev warned the authorities about the power resistance to the law enforcers.
However, the human rights defenders pointed out at the video and the eyewitnesses' reports stating that the leaders of the protests called on the protesters to leave the place and to prevent clashes with the law enforcers.