EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russia: Chechen Human Rights Lawyer Threatened

Posted by Info on 03/08/2011

The Committee against Torture, a Russian nongovernmental organization based in Nizhny Novgorod, leads the Joint Mobile Group in Chechnya, which was established in November 2009 to fight impunity for serious abuses by law enforcement agencies in Chechnya. The Committee against Torture closely cooperate with the Mobile Group and help with sensitive cases, including enforced disappearances and torture.

In 2011, the Mobile Group received the Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk and the Human Rights Prize of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for its courageous work in Chechnya.

Supyan Baskhanov, a lawyer who runs the Grozny office of the Committee against Torture, said that a senior police officer from Chechnya’s Vedeno district on July 28, 2011, warned him that police authorities were planning to accuse him of collaborating with insurgents and to have his law license revoked.

The Committee against Torture immediately filed a complaint about the unlawful dispersal of the rally and the threats against its local staff with Grozny’s Leninsky district office of the Russian Federation Investigation Committee for Chechnya. However, the office refused to open a criminal case, alleging that the investigator in charge was “unable to procure sufficient evidence pointing to a criminal act.”

Threats and harassment against human rights defenders in Chechnya have increased since the still unpunished murder of Natasha Estemirova, a leading Chechen human rights defender, who was kidnapped from near her apartment building in Grozny and killed on July 15, 2009.

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