Frank Schwabe (Germany, SOC), PACE rapporteur on the continuing need to restore human rights and the rule of law in the North Caucasus region, and Raphaël Comte (Switzerland, ALDE), General Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, today reacted to the sentencing by a court in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation) of Oyub Titiev, human rights activist and head of the regional branch of the internationally-renowned NGO Memorial, to four years’ imprisonment in a penal colony. Mr Titiev’s sentencing followed his conviction on drug-related charges.
“I condemn both the conviction and sentencing of Mr Titiev in the strongest terms,” declared Mr Schwabe. “The case against him gave every impression of having been fabricated in retaliation for his exposure of appalling human rights violations, his trial was blatantly unfair and the sentence is absurdly disproportionate to the alleged offence. Rather than proving that Mr Titiev is a criminal, this sorry episode merely proves once again that the Chechen police and judiciary are political tools in the hands of the regional authorities. He should be released immediately.”
“Mr Titiev’s case is part of a wider campaign against human rights defenders in the North Caucasus. His bravery in the face of threats and harassment by the authorities was recognised through the award of the Assembly’s 2018 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The Assembly as a whole and myself, as General Rapporteur, in particular will continue to support him and to follow his situation closely, holding both the regional and federal authorities to account,” concluded Mr Comte.