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EU Lawmakers Call For Immediate Release Of Chechen Rights Activist Titiyev

Oyub Titiyev attends a court hearing in Shali on November 26.
Oyub Titiyev attends a court hearing in Shali on November 26.

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament has called on authorities in Russia's Chechnya region to immediately release detained Chechen human rights activist Oyub Titiyev.

The resolution, overwhelming supported by European Union lawmakers on February 14, also urges “international sports personalities and artists to refrain from participation in public events in Chechnya or in events sponsored by the leadership of the Chechen Republic.”

The resolution “strongly condemns the repeated public statements by Chechen officials denouncing the work of human rights defenders and organizations.”

It calls on Russian authorities to repeal a 2015 "law on ‘undesirable organizations’ and the 2012 law on ‘foreign agents’ as well as all other related legislation, which has consistently been used to harass and attack human rights defenders and civil society organizations.”

In 2018, Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov threatened to ban human rights activists from the North Caucasus region after Titiyev's trial is over.

Titiyev, the director of the Memorial human rights center's office in Chechnya, was detained on January 9, 2018, on drug charges.

Police say they found about 180 grams of marijuana in his car.

But rights groups and activists say the charges are "bogus" and have accused authorities of planting the evidence in Titiyev's car.

Earlier this week, a court in Chechnya refused to admit the last motion from Titiyev's defense team in the trial.

A verdict is expected in soon.

Other proposals in the European Parliament's nonbinding resolution include a call on EU member states to “continue offering swift and efficient assistance to the victims of persecution and their family members.”

The resolution says perpetrators of human rights abuses in Chechnya “should not be granted EU visas nor be allowed to keep assets in EU member states.”

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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