Human rights activists look for eyewitnesses of Memorial Chechen office head’s arrest
According to Oyub Titiev, the police planted drugs on him twice in one day. The first time they arrested him without eyewitnesses; realizing they would not be able to prove anything, the police took him back to the same place with the same bag containing something that looked like marihuana and arrested again.
The Memorial human rights center and Grazhdanskoe Sodeystvie committee asked arrest witnesses for help. Oyub Titiev is the head of Memorial Chechen office.
Chechen police planted drugs in his car on the road connecting the Kurchayloy and Mayrtup villages on January 9.
The police set up Titiev, according to Novaya Gazeta. The police pulled him over on the road connecting the Kurchayloy and Mayrtup villages at about 9 AM. That is when they planted drugs and later 'discovered' them.
First, he was pulled over by two traffic cops, according to Titiev’s court statement made during the hearing on his pre-trial restrictions. While one cop checked his trunk, the other planted the black bag with marihuana under the front seat. Then they arrested Titiev and took both him and his car to the Kurchaloevsky police station. He was offered to plead guilty, but refused.
Titiev said the search and arrest were illegal since there were no eyewitnesses.
“We will make it all legal if you want,” the cops said. They gave him his car keys back and let him go. However, a plainclothes cop holding the 'evidence' sat in the car with him. At about 10:20-10:35 AM, Titiev was taken to the place where he had been arrested. That was when he was arrested for the second time. This time, the police had fake eyewitnesses. The bag was 'discovered' once again.
The police searched the car, put together a charge sheet, etc. until about 12 PM. Titiev and his car were then taken back to the police station.
Memorial and Grazhdanskoe Sodeystvie are looking for motorists with dashcams who drove on the road or next to the police station between 8:30 AM and 1 PM on January 9.
It is very important to obtain proof of Titiev and his car being searched and taken to the police station twice to prove he was set up. Human rights activists guarantee anonymity to those willing to help.
This was an attempt to get even with Titiev for his human rights activism in general and investigation of unsanctioned mass execution in Grozny a number of years ago in particular, Titiev’s colleagues believe. The US Department of State urged Chechen authorities to release Titiev. It referred to his arrest as to the latest news in a series of troubling reports of human rights violations in Chechnya.