Chechnya moves to silence Oyub Titiev, a courageous critic

OYUB TITIEV suspected the day would come. As head of the Chechen branch of Memorial, a Russian human-rights group, his activities often angered the region’s authorities. His predecessor, Natalia Estemirova, was kidnapped and murdered in 2009, a crime for which no one has been punished. Mr Titiev received death threats himself. He warned friends and colleagues that he could be arrested anytime. “They’ll plant drugs,” he told his friend Elena Milashina, an investigative reporter for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Mr Titiev’s fears proved true. On January 9th Chechen police arrested him, claiming to have found some 180 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag inside his car. He was charged with drug possession, and faces up to 10 years in prison. Mr Titiev reported that officers threatened reprisals against his family if he did not plead guilty. The arrest looks like an attempt to force Memorial to cease its work in the region, where it has long documented torture…Continue reading
Source: Europe Economic News