Russia: Chechnya’s leading rights defender facing 10 years in jail

Responding to a decision by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev, one of Russia’s leading human rights defenders, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office at Amnesty International said:
“The decision to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev is a grave injustice that strikes at the heart of Russia’s human rights community. The Russian authorities are hellbent on silencing anyone who speaks out against human rights abuses in Chechnya, and as the head of the human rights group Memorial’s Chechen office, Oyub Titiev has faced years of harassment and intimidation.
“In January, the sustained campaign of threats and smears against Memorial staff culminated in the arrest of Oyub Titiev on bogus drug charges. Despite the fact that these charges were clearly fabricated as a means of silencing him, Oyub Titiev now faces up to 10 years in jail. This is the price that human rights defenders in Russia pay for their bravery.
“We are urging the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Oyub Titiev and drop all charges against him. The cruelty of today’s decision only makes us more determined to keep fighting for the freedom of our courageous friend and colleague.”
For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332