Russia
13.03.19
Urgent Interventions

Continuing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Oyub Titiev

URGENT APPEAL - THEOBSERVATORY

Newinformation

RUS 001 / 0118 / OBS 004.4

Judicialharassment/

Arbitrarydetention

Russian Federation
March 13, 2019


The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership ofFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received newinformation and requests your intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

New information:

TheObservatory has documented through its international trial observers about thecontinuing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Oyub Titiev,Head of the Human Rights Center (HRC) "Memorial" office in Chechnya.

​​

Accordingto the information received, on March 11, 2019, during the closing arguments,the Prosecutor requested the Shalinsky Court to find Mr. Oyub Titiev guilty ofdrug possession in large amount (Article 228 of the Criminal Code) and tosentence him to four years in prison (including time already served) and a fineof 100,000 Roubles (approximately 1,350 Euros). The verdict is expected onMarch 18, 2019.

Duringthe hearing, to which the Observatory had sent representatives, Mr. Oyub Titievappeared in a metal cage.

TheObservatory recalls that Mr. Oyub Titiev was arrested January 9, 2018 and histrial started on July 19, 2018[1].

TheObservatory strongly condemns the continuing judicial harassment and arbitrarydetention of Mr. Oyub Titiev, which seems to be only aimed at sanctioning himfor his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls on the Russianauthorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and end any act ofharassment, including at the judicial level, against him and all the humanrights defenders in the country.

Background information:

In the morning of January 9, 2018, Mr. OyubTitiev left his home in the village of Kurchaloi, in the Chechen Republic, tohead to a meeting with a friend scheduled at 9am and subsequently to the officeof HRC "Memorial" in Grozny. Mr. Titiev being more than one hourlate for the meeting with a friend whose identity is not being revealed onpurpose, the latter spotted Mr. Titiev on a road between the villagesKurchaloi and Mairtup, next to the bridge on the river Khumyk. Next toMr. Titiev were five-six traffic police officers inspecting his car. Mr. Titievgave his friend a sign not to approach him, and after the both cars left - thatof Titiev and the second belonging to the traffic police - he headed to theKurchaloi District Department of Internal Affairs supposing Mr. Titievwould be taken there. Although he was not allowed to enter the DistrictDepartment of Internal Affairs, Mr. Titiev’s car present outside andunofficial sources allowed him to assume Mr. Titiev’s detention.

Despite repeated calls, the District Departmentofficially kept denying Mr. Titiev’s presence. If Mr. Titiev’sdetention was not officially confirmed by the authorities until seven hoursafter his detention when Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Interior of theChechen Republic Apti Alaudinov confirmed to the Russian Ombudsman TatianaMoskalkova that Mr. Titiev was being kept in Kurchaloi police station.Several hours later, Mr. Titiev’s lawyer confirmed that his client wascharged under Article 228 of the Criminal Code possessing drugs in largeamounts.

On January 17, 2018, at 3.35 am, the CCTVcamera of the HRC “Memorial” office recorded two young men, wearing masks andgloves, one of whom was carrying a canister. The arsonists put a ladder to theroof of the building and climbed to the second floor of the office. The attackersalso attempted to break one of the CCTV video cameras installed on the buildingon their way to the window of HRC “Memorial”’s office. The camera also recordedthe rapid departure of the two arsonists. Fortunately, the two attackers couldonly access three of the six rooms. The fire brigade arrived quickly at thescene and extinguished the fire but not before three of the office’s six roomswere burnt, destroying electronic equipment and documents. The remains of amelted plastic bottle with the smell of kerosene were found in the office ofHRC “Memorial” Ingushetia office’s Head Mr. Timur Akiev.

Furthermore, on January 15 and 16, 2018, Mr. Oleg Orlov, Chairman ofHRC “Memorial” Council, lawyer Petr Zaikin and journalists who were in Chechnyato investigate the case of Mr. Titiev were subjected to constantsurveillance of local law-enforcement bodies. For two days, the group wasdetained five times allegedly for verification of their involvement withillegal armed groups.

Mr. Titiev’s family members werethreatened by law enforcement authorities and consequently left Chechnya inlate January 2018. Likewise, one of Mr. Titiev’s lawyers, Mr. Aslan Telkhigov, wasallegedly forced to resign from Mr. Titiev’s defence team and to leaveChechnya in late January 2018.

On January 22, 2018, HRC Memorial’s car, usedby one of Mr. Titiev’s lawyers, Mr.Petr Zaikin, was set on fire in neighbouring Dagestan. Inaddition, on February 5, 2018, Chechen authorities ordered residents of severalprivate houses, including Mr. Titiev’s, to leave their house within aweek. Houses will be demolished to build a shopping center.

On March 6, 2018, the StaropromyslovskyDistrict Court in Grozny rejected an appeal filed against the pre-trialdetention order and extended Mr. Oyub Titiev’s pre-trial detention foranother two months, until May 9, 2018, despite the fact that two guarantorspledged for a “personal vouch”[2].

On March 19, 2018, Chechnya’s Supreme Courtconfirmed Mr. Oyub Titiev’s pre-trial detention until May 9, 2018, despitearguments from his lawyers that the extension of his pre-trial detention isbaseless. During the hearing, Mr. Oyub Titiev appeared in cage.

Actions requested:

Pleasewrite to the authorities of Russia asking them to:

i.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychologicalwell-being of Mr. Oyub Titiev and all human rights defenders in the country;

ii.Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Oyub Titiev, and put an end to allacts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him as well asagainst all human rights defenders in the country;

iii.Ensure in all circumstances that human rights defenders are able to carry outtheir legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv.Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on HumanRights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular its Articles 1, 6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;

v.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

Addresses:

· Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 495606 3602; + 7 495 625 3581

· Mr. Dimitri Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter:@MedvedevRussia

· Mr. Sergueï Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RussianFederation, Fax: + 7 495 644 2203

· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations inGeneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 734 40 44, E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch

· Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 37426 13. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch

· Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council ofEurope, France. Fax: (+33) (0) 3 88 24 19 74. Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also writeto the diplomatic representations of the Russian Federation in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva,March 13, 2019

Kindly inform usof any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is toprevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDHand OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact theObservatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 /+33 1 43 55 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +4122 809 49 29


[1] See Observatory Press Release “Russia: Call for immediaterelease of Oyub Titiev, as trial starts today”, published on July 9, 2018.

[2] Personal vouch is a provision in Russian legislation as analternative to pre-trial detention. 2018 Presidential candidate GrigoriiYavlinskii, was personally at the hearing to present his claim for personalvouch. @font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math";}@font-face { font-family: OpenSymbol;}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }h1 { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; text-indent: 0cm; break-after: avoid; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; font-weight: normal; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 16.95pt; text-indent: -16.95pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }span.Heading1Char { }span.FootnoteCharacters { vertical-align: super; }span.WW-LienInternet { color: navy; text-decoration: underline; }span.WW-FootnoteReference11 { vertical-align: super; }span.FooterChar { }span.HeaderChar { }span.FootnoteTextChar { }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }

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