The Russian human rights activist Ojub Titijew has been sentenced to four years in prison for alleged drug possession. This was decided by a court in the Chechen capital Grozny, as the Russian news agency Tass reported. The defense had pleaded for acquittal. She is now considering calling.
Titiyev headed the office of the human rights organization Memorial in the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus. He was arrested last January and has since been detained.
The activist has always rejected the allegations. In return, Memorial accused the police of submitting the drugs to Titiyev in an attempt to obstruct the organization’s work. Memorial has repeatedly reported on collective punishment, kidnapping and torture in the Islamic Caucasus republic.
The Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been taking on increasing human rights activism for some time. There have been many cases of activists being threatened, kidnapped or killed.
The human rights commissioner of the Federal Government, Bärbel Kofler (SPD), said she was „deeply concerned“. She called on Russia to have the sentence and the remand remanded as quickly as possible by a court outside Chechnya. „Russia needs to ensure that human rights defenders can work in Chechnya without fear of prosecution.“ The Eastern Europe spokesman for the Greens parliamentary group, Manuel Sarrazin, said: „The verdict against Ojub Titiyev is wrong, arbitrary and politically motivated, and as such must condemn the international community.“
In October, the activist had already been awarded the Vaclav Havel Prize of the Council of Europe.