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Russian Federation: Human Rights Defender detained

    Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 17:49
    Oyub Titiev Chechnya - via Memorial Human Rights Center.

    Photo: via Memorial Human Rights Center.

    Download PDF of Update 1 dated March 13, to UA 5/18 Russian Federation


    UPDATE of March 13: The detention of Oyub Titiev has been extended to at least May 9. 


    On 9 January, police arbitrarily arrested Chechen human rights defender Oyub Titiev. He was held incommunicado for several hours and remains in detention falsely accused of drug possession. If tried and convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

    On the morning of 9 January, traffic police officers stopped and searched the car of Oyub Tititev, the Head of the Russian NGO Memorial office in Grozny, Chechnya. This was witnessed by his friend with whom Oyub Titiev had arranged to meet before work. The friend later saw Oyub Ttitev’s car parked in the backyard of the Kurchaloi police station and got unofficial confirmation from a police officer that the human rights defender was being held there. Oyub Ttitiev’s mobile phone remained switched on but he would not pick it up. 

    On the same morning, Oyub Titiev’s lawyer went to the police station but the police refused to let him in and denied that Oyub Titiev was under their custody. Contrary to the law, the police did not inform his relatives of his arrest nor did they grant him access to his lawyer, holding him incommunicado for several hours. It was only after the Russian Ombudsperson and the Head of the Presidential Council for Human Rights intervened, on the request of his colleagues, that the Chechen Ministry of Interior confirmed Oyub Ttitiev was arrested after finding “approximately 180 grams of a substance with a specific marihuana odour” while conducting the search on his car. Oyub Titiev stands accused under Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code for unlawful possession of drug substances. If found guilty, he could face up to ten years in prison.

    His lawyer got access and was able to talk to Oyub Titiev only around 7 pm. Oyub Titiev has denied the accusations. The court hearing to decide on whether he should be remanded in custody is expected to take place on 11 January. Amnesty International believes that the evidence against Oyub Titiev has been fabricated, and he has been thrown behind bars to silence him and obstruct his work. Oyub Titiev is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his peaceful human rights work, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

    Please send a letter, email, tweet or fax without delay.

    • Start with a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Tell authorities to release Oyub Titiev immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against him.
    • Call on them to conduct an immediate, impartial and effective investigation into the circumstances that led to Oyub Titiev’s arbitrary arrest, including the allegations of planting evidence, and hold anyone found responsible to account.
    • Call on authorities to take all measures to end the practice of arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment in Chechnya. 

    Address your appeals to:

    Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic

    Sharpuddi Muaidovich Abdul-Kadyrov

    Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen Republic

    Ul. Idrisova d. 42, 

    Grozny, 36400 

    Chechen Republic

    Russian Federation 


    Salutation:     Dear Prosecutor

    Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation 

    Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika

    Prosecutor General’s Office 

    ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a 

    125993 Moscow GSP- 3

    Russian Federation

    Fax:               011 7495 987 58 41 or 

                          011 7495 692 17 25

    Salutation:     Dear Prosecutor General

    President of the Russian Federation

    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin 

    ul. Ilyinka, 23 

    103132 Moscow 

    Russian Federation

    Fax:               011 7 495 9102134

    Salutation:     Dear President

    Please send a copy to:

    His Excellency Alexander Darchiev

    Ambassador for the Russian Federation

    285 Charlotte Street

    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8L5

    Fax:              1 (613) 236-6342*  

    Email: *

    * Note: If fax or email address fails, try once more in a few hours.

    Additional Information

    Oyub Titiev has been working in the Grozny office of Memorial for many years and has been threatened on numerous occasions in connection with his human rights work. He became Head of the office shortly after the murder of human rights defender and Memorial staff member Natalia Estemirova in 2009. Following her killing, many of Memorial’s staff members had to leave the country fearing for their lives, and Memorial had to suspend its work in Chechnya for five months.

    For the last few months, Oyub Titiev together with other Memorial colleagues, were working on the case of 27 Chechens allegedly forcibly disappeared, and shot dead by the police on the night of 26 January 2017. Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta wrote extensively on this issue. Oyub Titiev’s colleagues believe that his detention is an attempt by the authorities to stop him from doing his legitimate human rights work.

    In 2014, a criminal case on charges of drug possession was fabricated against a Chechen civil society activist Ruslan Kutaev (UA 66/14). His trial was marred by numerous fair trial violations. While in police custody, Ruslan Kutaev was tortured and otherwise ill-treated. Requests from his defence lawyers to open an investigation into allegations of the use of torture against the activist were rejected. In July 2014, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of his innocence, Ruslan Kutaev was found guilty and given a four-year sentence, reduced by two months on appeal in October 2015. Ruslan Kutaev served his sentence and was released on 20 December 2017. Amnesty International campaigned on Ruslan Kutaev’s case and declared him a prisoner of conscience.

    Take your activism further!

    TAKE ACTION - Tell Russia to protect journalists threatened for exposing human rights abuses

    READ - Amnesty International joint statement with 6 other NGO's 

    NEWS FLASH - Russia: Attacks on human rights group Memorial must be investigated and stopped

    If you wish to receive updates on this case, email In the subject line, write “Keep me updated on UA 5/18 "Russian Federation".


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