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Russian Federation: Human rights defender Mr Igor Kalyapin at risk of facing a criminal charge of disclosing State secrets
On 18 January 2012, human rights defender Mr Igor Kalyapin was informed that a statement had been filed with the investigative authorities in the Chechen Republic accusing him of disclosing State secrets.
Igor Kalyapin is chairman of the Committee Against Torture, and founder and President of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG), who received the Front Line Defenders Award in April 2011 for their work in investigating torture and disappearances in Chechnya.
On 18 January 2012, Igor Kalyapin was notified by Mr Igor Sobol, Senior Investigator at the Department for the Investigation of Serious Cases of the Central Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Prosecutor’s Office, that the leader of the Chechen OMON (special police forces) had filed a statement accusing him of disclosing State secrets. On the basis of the statement, an enquiry was launched and a criminal case may be opened against Igor Kalyapin. Such disclosure constitutes a crime under Article 283 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and carries with it a prison sentence of 3 to 7 years.
The filing of this statement comes in the context of recent progress made in investigations conducted by the JMG, who works with Igor Sobol's investigative group, into cases in which members of the Chechen OMON are the chief suspects, in particular the abduction and subsequent ill-treatment of Mr Islam Umarpashayev. This case is the most high-profile case of the JMG and is currently under investigation by a group led by Igor Sobol. Igor Kalyapin represents the victim in that investigation. The “State secrets” allegedly disclosed refer to the fact Igor Kalyapin identified the place where Islam Umarpashayev was illegally detained on blogs that he wrote in the summer of 2011.
Igor Kalyapin described how the investigating group, accompanied by the JMG and Islam Umarpashayev, had attempted to enter the place where the victim had been detained in order for him to formally identify it for the purpose of the investigation.
The JMG has also received information regarding two new cases in which members and commanders of the Chechen OMON are suspects. One of these cases concerns the illegal detention and brutal torture by policemen of employees of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic. The investigation into these events has been suspended by the investigative authorities in Chechnya. In December 2011 lawyers of the JMG sent a complaint to the Prosecutor's Office of the North Caucasus Federal District regarding this suspension. The case is now under review by the Federal Prosecutor.
Front Line Defenders believes that the statement filed against Igor Kalyapin by the leader of the Chechen OMON is directly related to his work with JMG in investigating torture and disappearances in Chechnya.