MOSCOW, March 2 (RAPSI) – The Prosecutor of Chechnya has been authorized to provide supervision over investigation into Oyub Titiyev, the head of the republic’s office of Memorial NGO, according to the statement published on the website of Russia’s Presidential Council for Human Rights (CHR) on Friday.
In early February, the case against Titiyev has been forwarded to the republic’s investigative directorate of the Investigative Committee taking into account the defendant’s opinion on the probe’s biased approach. Initially, the case was opened and investigated by the Interior Ministry’s investigative department.
Chairman of Russia’s Presidential Council for Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov has repeatedly spoken in favor of carrying out the investigation into Titiyev by the federal authorities. Among the reasons supporting the Council’s stance, Fedotov specifically noted the need to check the inference that drugs were planted in the activist’s car and investigate a series of attacks against Memorial offices in Ingushetia and Dagestan.
According to the Chechen Republic’s Interior Ministry, on January 9, police officers stopped Titiyev’s car during a preventive control operation. As police officers searched the car, a package filled with a plant-based substance smelling of marihuana was found. The package was then sent for analysis while the head of the office was brought in for a medical examination. Titiyev has been put in detention.
Earlier, Fedotov said that drugs might have been planted in the car because of Titiyev’s human rights activity. He believes that there are grounds for launching two criminal cases: over the discovery and over an alleged planting of drugs. Chechen Republic’s ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev stated earlier that police officers had not violated any laws.
On January 17, unknown assailants set on fire Memorial’s office in the Ingushetia Republic. On January 23, a car of the organization was set on fire in the Dagestan Republic.