Responding to news that a court in Chechnya decided to extend the detention of Oyub Titiev, the head of human rights group Memorial in Russia’s Chechen Republic, until 9 May, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International said:
“Today’s court decision in Chechnya to extend Oyub Titiev’s detention was as predictable as it was dismaying and outrageous. Oyub must be released immediately and unconditionally, and set free to continue with his human rights work. The authorities should be instead investigating those who are fabricating criminal charges to target and harass human rights defenders.”
Memorial is a network of organizations and associations which focus on past and present human rights violations in Russia.
The head of the organization’s office in Chechnya, Oyub Titiev, was stopped in his car by police on 9 January and held incommunicado for several hours. The Chechen authorities later stated that drugs had been “discovered” in his car. Titiev denied the allegations and insisted the bag had been planted by police. If convicted, Titiev faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
On Tuesday, the Staropromyslovsky District Court of the Chechen capital Grozny extended Titiev’s pre-trial detention for two additional months, until 9 May.