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Rapporteur concerned by renewed detention of Chechen human rights defender, urges his release

Egidijus Vareikis (Lithuania, EPP/CD), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on protecting human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States, has expressed concern at the prolongation of the detention on remand of Oyub Titiev, the head of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya.

“I am very sad to learn that the detention on remand of Mr Titiev, who is still facing criminal prosecution on dubious drug possession charges, has been prolonged. This happened on the very day when the Assembly adopted its Resolution 2225 (2018) in which it called on Council of Europe member States to stop reprisals against human rights defenders. The continued detention of Mr Titiev might have a chilling effect on the work of Memorial, the only human rights organisation currently working in the North Caucasus,” said the rapporteur.

“Once again I call on the local and federal authorities to release Mr Titiev and review the charges against him according to the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, and to refrain from any acts of intimidation and reprisals against human rights activists in the region, in line with the Assembly’s recent resolution.”

On 9 January 2018, Mr Titiev was apprehended in the village of Kurchaloi, in the Chechen Republic, and accused of possessing large amounts of illegal drugs. Since then, he has been in detention on remand. On 26 June 2018 a local court decided to prolong his detention on remand until 9 July 2018.