International Memorial's Statement on Oyub Titiyev

Оюб Титиев. Фото из личного архива

On 24 January 2018, the International Memorial released the following statement for the Russian and international society

On 9 January, Oyub Titiyev, head of the Grozny Memorial HRC, was detained in the Chechen Republic on drugs possession charges. The evidence against Titiyev has been fabricated in the old familiar way: the drugs that had allegedely been found in his car were planted by the police officers conducting the search, a well-known dirty police trick.

Has Titiyev's arrest happened at the Chechen authorities' initiative or has the provocation been given a go-ahead from Moscow? Perhaps those who have been using all means available in order to slander Memorial and the work we do reached the following conclusion: the public opinion has long been accustomed to the lawlessness prevailing in the Chechen Republic.

Won't the public tick Titiyev's name off just as well? Are we to expect another story making the news on NTV, unmasking the Memorial activist as a drug addict or, still worse, a drugs dealer?

After all, an example has been set: Yuri Dmitriyev, the head of the Karelia Memorial, was depicted in the media as a pedophile behind production of child pornography. The "Dmitriyev case" is currently going to pieces in the court trial. Isn't someone trying to revenge the defeat in Petrozavodsk by fabricating a new charge, this time against Titiyev?

We cannot answer these questions yet. What we do know is that this time around, the provocation has been arranged on the Chechen Republic's soil, i.e. on the territory where law and justice have long been non-existent. Oyub Titiyev finds himself in a dangerous situation.

As things stand now, we can only ask the Russian public and the international community to monitor the "Titiyev case" just as closely as we all did the "Dmitriyev case" and respond to it with as much concern.

It is necessary to ensure that the criminal investigation against Titiyev be transferred to the Investigative Department of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry – after Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's insulting and threatening utterances against human rights defenders one cannot expect a fair investigation in Grozny. It is necessary for the inspection concerning Titiyev's statement that the police officers committed a crime against him to be transferred from the Chechen Investigative Committee to the superior authorities. 

A vigorous public campaign in defence of Yuri Dmitriyev has been instrumental in averting an unlawful conviction based on fabricated legal expertise. We are fully aware that Grozny is far from Petrovavodsk, and the situation here is much worse. But the life of a man of honour, a courageous man is on stake.

Victory is not going to be gained easily. It is just that we have no right to give up.

International Memorial Board