European Parliament calls for immediate release of human rights defender Oyub Titiev
The EU states called for receiving more refugees from Chechnya.
The European Parliament issued a resolution on the case of the head of the Chechen branch of the human rights center Memorial, Oyub Titiev, who was arrested on charges of possession of drugs, Kommersant reports. In the document, the parliament urges to immediately release Titiev, provide him with access to a lawyer and medical care, physical integrity and protection of human dignity, as well as protection from "arbitrary arrests and unfair prosecution." In addition, the European Parliament condemned the arsons of the office and car of Memorial in Ingushetia and Dagestan, and supported the organization's request to transfer the investigation into the case of the human rights defender to the federal level.
Memorial noted that they had not applied to the European Parliament with the request to adopt such a resolution, but other human rights organizations had sent materials on the situation there. According to the Head of the program Hot Spots of the human rights center, Oleg Orlov, the resolution also touches upon other issues related to human rights in Chechnya: the murder of Natalya Estemirova, the actual expulsion of the Committee Against Torture and the persecution of people.
The resolution also mentions the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova in Moscow, arrests of chairman of the Assembly of the Peoples of the Caucasus Ruslan Kutaev and journalist Zhalaudi Guriev, convicted for possession of drugs in 2014 and 2016, as well as harassment of homosexuals in Chechnya. The European Parliament called on the Russian authorities to "immediately put an end to the arrests, attacks, intimidation and discrediting of human rights defenders and independent journalists working in Chechnya and in other regions of Russia.
The EU countries urged to assist refugees from Chechnya, as well as to provide shelter to the victims, journalists and human rights defenders of the region. The head of the Committee Against Torture, Igor Kalyapin, called this call "very timely" and remarked that asylum in Europe is often granted not to those who try to avoid political persecution or danger to life.
The State Duma and the Council of Federation on international affairs has not commented on the resolution of the European Parliament yet.
Oyub Titiev was detained in Chechnya on January 9 and arrested for 2 months on suspicion of possession of drugs. According to investigators, a bag of marijuana was found in his car. The human rights activist himself stated that the police had planted drugs on him. Memorial connects the persecution of Titiev with the investigation of several cases of disappearance of people in Chechnya since late 2016.