Geneva-Paris-Brussels,June 21, 2019. Human rights defender OyubTitiev was released on parole today after serving 17 months of a four-yearprison sentence on fabricated charges. Titiev and the human rights NGO forwhich he was working, Memorial, have long been a thorn in the side of the localauthorities due to their key role in documenting grave human rights violationsin Chechnya.
The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, together with International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), welcome the release on parole of Oyub Titiev, Head of the Human Rights Center (HRC) "Memorial" office in Chechnya, but once again call on the authorities to annul his conviction, provide him with full reparation and furnish guarantees that he and all other human rights defenders will be allowed to pursue their vital human rights work without any further impediment or harassment by local or federal officials.
“We arerelieved Oyub is finally free. However, for any first-timeoffender of a non-serious crime it’s common practice to obtain early release onparole. What was extraordinary, was the fabricated criminal case against Titievand the deeply flawed trial before a court in Chechnya,” said Gerald Staberock, OMCT SecretaryGeneral.
On March 18,2019, the ShaliCity Court sentenced Titiev to four years in prison for “possession ofmarijuana in large quantities” (Article 228(2) of the Russian Criminal Code).Titiev, who was detained since his arrest on January 9, 2018, recentlyapplied for early release in accordance with Russian law and on June 10, 2019the Shali City Court approved his application.
“Oyubshould never have been detained in the first place. The authorities shouldrestore his rights after 17 months of abusive court proceedings, arbitrarydetention and smear campaigns,” said DimitrisChristopoulos, FIDH President.
Today the Observatory andIPHR publish an observation note on the trial and conviction of Oyub Titiev.The note shows how the trial was replete with violations of fair trialstandards. Prior to thestart of the trial, the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, publicly claimedthat Titiev is a drug user, thereby violating the presumption of innocence ofthe accused. During the eight-month long trial, the judge refused repeatedly defensemotions to conduct an investigation into well-substantiated allegations thatmarijuana had been planted in Titiev’s car.
“Therelease of Ouyb is great news for his family, colleagues and entire humanrights movement in and outside Russia. The case proves the importance ofcoordinated solidarity and support which can lead to successful outcomes evenin authoritarian contexts”, said Brigitte Dufour, Director of IPHR.
You can read the trialobservation note here.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by OMCT and FIDH. The objectiveof this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repressionagainst human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights DefendersMechanism implemented by international civil society.
IPHR is anindependent, non-governmental organization founded in 2008. Based in Brussels,IPHR works closely together with civil society groups from different countriesto raise human rights concerns at the international level and promote respectfor the rights of vulnerable communities.
Formore information, please contact:
· OMCT: Iolanda Jaquemet / Roemer Lemaitre: + 41 79 53941 06 / + 41 22 809 49 39
· FIDH: Eva Canan: + 33 6 48 05 91 57
· IPHR: Simon Papuashvili: +32 494 75 3942