Memorial HRC Car Torched in Dagestan


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Unidentified people set fire to a Volga car belonging to  Memorial HRC in Dagestan. The car, parked outside the Memorial's driver's home in the regional capital of Makhachkala, was torched at around 10pm on Monday, 22 January.

Oleg Orlov, who heads Memorial HRC's Hot Spots programme working in the North Caucasus, says: "Obviously, this comes as yet another
act of intimidation. It would be difficult not to to see it as part in a chain of events that started with planting drugs in Oyub Titieyv's car, torching Memorial's office in Nazran [Ingushetia's captial] and now, an attempt to set fire to the car in Makhachkala." "The car was probably torched by local gangsters," Orlov also said, adding: "But it is apparent to an independent observer that people who paid those gangsters, people who organised the crime, are to be sought in the Chechen Republic."

"You are walking on the very edge"

In a separate development, Memorial staff in Makhachkala reported receiving threatining text messages at around 1:30 pm on Tuesday, 23 January.

The following sms arrived at Memorial's cellular phone in Dagestan: "You're walking on the very edge. Shut down [your office]! Next time we'll burn you alongside your office. [The torching of] the car was just a message."

A few minutes later,  a phone call came from the same phone number. The caller said: "Read your sms's! Next time... next time..." and then hang up.

That comes as the latest in a series of events that include Memorial Grozny's office arrest on drug charges, three searches in Grozny's office, a fire in the office in Nazran, Ingushetia, and a torched Memorial car in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala.

More on Oyub Titiyev's case (in Russian)