Russia: Bail refusal for Chechen prisoner of conscience is latest affront to justice

Responding to the news that a court in Chechnya has refused to release human rights defender Oyub Titiev on bail, Natalia Prilutskaya, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher, said:

“The decision not to grant bail to Oyub Titiev once again demonstrates the political motivation of the case against him. He has committed no crime, having been jailed on completely fabricated drug charges, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.

The decision not to grant bail to Oyub Titiev once again demonstrates the political motivation of the case against him
Natalia Prilutskaya, Russia Researcher at Amnesty International

“In today’s hearing, all the defence’s arguments were dismissed without any proper consideration while the court accepted every one of the prosecution’s objections to the bail request.

“This case is an affront to justice which highlights the Chechen government’s intolerance of opposing views and is further evidence that human rights defenders jailed in Chechnya cannot rely on the tools of justice to help them.”

Background

The Shali City Court today rejected Oyub Titiev’s bail request. The judge stated that the defence did not present enough evidence to mitigate the previous grounds for his arrest.

Oyub Titiev, the head of the Chechen office of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, has been detained since 9 January 2018 after police stopped him in his car. They said drugs had been “discovered” in the vehicle – a charge he has always denied.

Two days later, the Shali City Court ordered the pre-trial detention of Oyub Titiev. He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of drug possession.

Members of Memorial have been repeatedly targeted by the Chechen authorities. In 2009, Memorial researcher Natalia Estemirova was abducted and killed on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia.