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10 January 2018

Front Line Defenders Calls for EU Action in Chechnya

On 9 January 2018, human rights defender Oyub Titiev was taken from his car by people in road police uniform and brought at Kurchaloy regional police station. Authorities accused Titiev, who works with Human Rights Center Memorial providing legal assistance to victims of gross human rights violations, of drugs’ possession. A criminal investigation was opened against him.

Front Line Defenders has urged the European Union to take action on behalf of Oyub Titiev, and on 10 January Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson wrote the following open letter to Frederica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:

Dear High Representative Mogherini, 

I am writing to you concerning the detention yesterday of human rights defender Oyub Titiev in Chechnya. You will remember the murder of Natalya Estemirova in 2009. Oyub was her colleague and has succeeded her as the Head of the internationally renowned NGO Memorial in Chechnya. 

We are gravely concerned about the high risk of torture and about threats reportedly made against Oyub's son. We would like to ask you to urgently make enquiries to the Russian authorities about the detention of Oyub Titiev and to make a public statement of concern about his detention.  We have been told that the Chief Editor of Novaya Gazeta called the Kremlin yesterday and was told that Putin had said this was "a simple criminal case" which is clearly untrue. We would be happy to provide you with any additional information should you require this. 

After the killing of his colleague Natalia Estemirova in July 2009, Oyub Titiev became the head of the Chechen office of the organisation. In recent years, Oyub Titiev has received numerous threats linked to his human rights work. On ____________, international human rights organisations including Front Line Defenders issued the following joint statement demanding his release: