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Human Rights Lawyer Detained In Tatarstan

KAZAN, Russia -- A Tatar lawyer specializing in human-rights and freedom-of-speech cases is being held in detention in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Rustem Valiullin was detained by traffic police in the town of Almetyevsk, about 250 kilometers east of Kazan, while meeting with a client late on August 2.

Pavel Chikov, head of the Agora Association of Human Rights Groups, said Valiullin sent a text message to his Agora colleagues informing them he had been detained for administrative violations and refusing to comply with police requests.

The Almetyevsk police department confirmed Valiullin was detained.

Valiullin appeared in court on August 3 and was fined 500 rubles ($16.60). He was then released but was detained again almost immediately for refusing to be fingerprinted.

Chikov told RFE/RL the refusal was justified because Valiullin had not been formally charged with any crime.

Chikov said Valiullin was held overnight in a small cell with some 30 other people. Despite the extreme heat, the detainees were given neither food nor water.

Rafis Latypov, head of the Kama human rights organization in Izhevsk, in neighboring Udmurtia, was reportedly traveling to Almetyevsk in an effort to secure Valiullin's release.