Chechnya: Lawyer of arrested Memorial head fears provocation by security forces
Former military and operative Petr Zaikin previously detected gross violations in the investigation into Titiev. Shortly thereafter, he was put on surveillance.
Lawyer of Head of Memorial human rights center’s office in Grozny Oyub Titiev Petr Zaikin does not rule out that Chechen security officials may stage a provocation to protect the investigative actions in the Titiev case against his participation.
As reported by Novaya Gazeta, this week, Petr Zaikin found out he had been followed.
When leaving for Moscow at the end of last week, on his way to the airport in Makhachkala, Petr Zaikin saw his car was being followed. A silver Ford with ‘deluxe’ license plate М 002 UR 77 was right on the lawyer’s tail. The surveillance was blatant, the newspaper notes. After receiving an SMS from the investigator on the need for his presence during the search in Memorial office, Zaikin turned taxi to Grozny.
According to him, Ford persistently followed him up the city. It was possible to break away from it only at the bus station, for which Zaikin had to jump into another car literally on the move.
Tail after lawyer Zaikin
Earlier, during familiarization with the examination, which revealed marijuana in the swabs allegedly taken from Oyub Titiev’s hands, lawyer Zaikin revealed a gross violation. The swabs from Titiev’s fingers were put in envelopes and sealed in the absence of the lawyer and the suspect, which enabled the operative to replace the samples referred for examination.
The publication notes that former military and operative Petr Zaikin previously executed the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to establish constitutional order in Chechnya, heading the personal guard of Russian General Bespalov. At the moment, Zaikin one of the few lawyers, who take up the most high-profile cases in Chechnya. He saved athlete Murad Amriev from persecution by Chechen policemen, defended Chechen politician Ruslan Kutayev convicted for his public activities under a ‘drug’ article, represented the interests of Kenkhi village resident Ramazan Dzhalaldinov, whose house was burned for him telling how the Chechen corruption was organized. According to Zaikin, law enforcers can plant drugs or weapons on him, however, he will continue to participate in the investigation, because he cannot leave Oyub Titiev without defense.
To recall, Head of Memorial’s Grozny office Oyub Titiev had been previously detained a week ago and then arrested for two months on suspicion of drug possession. Chechen law enforcement officers accuse him of storing 180 grams of marihuana, which was allegedly found in his car. Titiev denies his guilt.
A few days ago, the arrested head of the Chechen branch of Memorial wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, ICR Head Aleksandr Bastrykin, and FSB Head Aleksandr Bortnikov with a request to take his situation under personal control, claiming that the case against him is a frame-up. The Memorial representatives link the criminal prosecution of Titiev to the investigation into human rights violations in Chechnya.
Several new criminal cases against corrupt officials have been instituted in Dagestan. The high-ranked suspects include Abdulmedzhid Suleimanov, ex-Mayor of Izberbash; Amir Magomedov, ex-Head of the Izberbash Administration; Magomed Dzhelilov, Head of the Derbent District; and El’dar Karagishiev, Head of the Babayurt District. In the past, all of them were suspected of similar crimes – but somehow managed to get off the hook. The new arrests occur amid the anti-corruption campaign in the republican law enforcement structures. What are the true reasons behind the new wave of the personnel purge? Can the anti-corruption slogans conceal a fierce battle waged by local clans for redistribution of assets with the purpose to create a new ‘untouchable’ elite in Dagestan?