Head of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” in Grozny detained – HFHR’s statement
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights expresses its deep concern regarding the detention of a human rights defender in Chechnya, the head of the Chechen center of the Human Rights Center “Memorial” of Oyuba Titiev.
According to information confirmed by the organization Titiew was arrested on 9th of January by uniformed officers on suspicion of alleged drug possession. For several hours the activist’s lawyer was denied to contact his client and the place of stay of Titiew was unknown. The human rights defender faces up to 10 years in prison on drug possession charges.
There are credible reports that the Chechen authorities used methods of fabricating evidence against human rights defenders and people who critisize the regime of Ramzan Kadyrov. As a longtime associate of the Memorial – the oldest and best known Russian human rights organization – Titiew dealt with the victims of serious human rights violations in Chechnya, including torture, kidnapping and enforced disappearances. Titiew took over the management of the Memorial office in Grozny in 2009, after the assassination of Natalia Estemirova.
HFHR joins the appeal of human rights organizations, including Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, the Human Rights Watch and the Russian Committee against Torture, which ask the Russian authorities on the regional and federal level to immediately release Oyub Titiev and ensure that his rights are respected in the ongoing proceedings.