The trial of human rights activist Oyub Titiyev, who heads the Chechen branch of Russian rights group Memorial, kicked off on 18 July in Chechnya’s Shali District Court. Titiyev, who has been in custody since January, is charged with possession of large quantities of cannabis; Titiyev and his defence team reject the accusation, claiming the drugs were planted on him and that the case is politically motivated.
Last week, Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky District Court rejected an appeal from Oyub Titiyev’s lawyer, Pyotr Zaikin, to have his case transferred to another region of the North Caucasus. Titiyev, the head of Russian rights group Memorial’s Chechen branch, is the latest government critic to be prosecuted on drug charges in the republic. Zaikin says the drugs were planted by police and insists Titiyev will not receive a fair trial in Chechnya, he also accused the Russian Investigative Committee of being unwilling to get to the truth of the matter.
The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of prominent Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev, Rikard Jozwiak, Brussels reporter for RFE/RL, reported. The 8 February resolution labels drug charges levelled against Titiyev ‘trumped-up’.
Chechen authorities have detained a local human rights activist on drug charges. Activists and government critics say the charges have been fabricated in order to silence him. [Read more…]