Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has strongly condemned a vicious attack on the Grozny offices of the Committee against Torture (Komitet Protiv Pytok), a Russian NGO which was awarded the Assembly’s inaugural Human Rights Prize in 2011.
According to reports, an armed mob attacked the office of the Committee against Torture’s Joint Mobile Groups this morning in Grozny, Chechen Republic. Their car was destroyed and their office ravaged. The mob cut through the door with a chainsaw, although the two lawyers present managed to escape.
“This vicious attack shows the intense pressure human rights defenders face today in the Russian Federation, and in particular in the Chechen Republic,” said Ms Brasseur. “On behalf of the Assembly, I should like to express my solidarity with Russia’s embattled human rights defenders, and in particular the Joint Mobile Groups headed by Igor Kalyapin.”
She added: “I urge the competent Chechen and Russian authorities to swiftly and fully investigate this attack, as well as the arson attack on the Joint Mobile Group’s office in December 2014, and to hold the perpetrators as well as the instigators to account.”
The Committee against Torture was awarded the Parliamentary Assembly’s Human Rights Prize in 2011 for its courageous action in the fight against torture and impunity in the Chechen Republic and elsewhere in the Russian Federation’s North Caucasus region. An earlier attack on the Joint Mobile Groups’ Grozny offices in December 2014 was strongly condemned by the Chair of PACE’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.