Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation makes a statement in relation to the crackdown of the joint mobile group "The Committee Against Torture" in Grozny

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15 December 2014

Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation expresses grave concern over the situation around the Joint Mobile Unit of «The Committee Against Torture» (CAT JMG) which was working in the Chechen Republic starting from 2009. On 13 December 2014 in Grozny there was a several thousand strong anti-terrorist rally where appeals were made to do away with the human rights defenders activity. Shortly after that the CAT JMG office was smashed up and burnt down. Members of the group Sergey Babinets and Dmitry Dmitriyev spend a night in the hotel surrounded by the police. When on the next morning they arrived at the office to take away what was left, they were detained by the police, who took away their telephones, laptops and all the electronic media. Only in a few hours they were released and managed to go out of Chechnya. 

What happened became a result of the chain of events. On 4 December the group of terrorists made an insolent attack against Grozny, which cost 14 police officers’ lives. We bow our heads to these heroes of the global war with terrorism and express deep condolences to their relatives.  On the same day the Head of the Chechen Republic made a statement on his page in Instagram social networking web site that the families of the militants will be deported out of Chechnya and their houses will be demolished together with the foundations. This contradicts to the requirements of the federal legislation, according to which the property of the terrorists’ relatives, if it was acquired as a result of terrorist activity, is to be transferred to the state revenue. However, in a short while, several houses which belonged to the terrorists’ relatives, were burnt down.  

In his turn, the member of the Council, the Head of «The Committee Against Torture» Igor Kalyapin, assuming that these statements were outside the boundaries of law, applied to the law-enforcement agencies requesting to make legal evaluation of these statements. In his response to this complaint of the human right defender the Head of the Chechen Republic stated that «someone named Kalyapin sided with bandits and their relatives».  

In this respect the Council thinks it necessary to declare that protection of law has nothing to do with justification of terrorists. Any measures against such unconditional evil as terrorism must be performed in strict compliance with the law. Power authorities cannot use means from the arsenal of terrorists: otherwise it would mean their victory over Russia as a law-governed state. The state and the human rights defenders cannot have divergence of views on this issue. 

The first President of the Chechen Republic Akhmat Kadyrov wrote: «In Chechnya people are still disappearing without a trace. They are taken in the night never to return. Their bodies are never found, and no-one sees them alive. This is the pain of the whole Republic, this is my personal pain as well». Igor Kalyapin and his colleagues are dealing with this – and not only in Chechnya – treatment of this pain exactly, investigating cases of people abducted, uses of torture, etc.  

The threat of terrorism is our common pain. In order to fight it we need rule of law and solidarity, not  arbitrary rule and disorder. That is why we appeal to the Chechen Republic authorities to assist in resuming of work of “The Committee Against Torture” Joint Mobile Group. 
 
Head of the Council                         М. Fedotov
15 December 2014

The statement was signed by: Svetlana Aivazova, Lev Ambinder, Andrey Babushkin, Evgeny Bobrov, Aleksandr Brod, Aleksandr Verkhovsky, Sergey Vorobyev, Elizaveta Glinka, Pavel Gusev, Iosif Diskin, Daniil Dondurey, Nataliya Evdokimova, Kirill Kabanov, Irina Kirkora, Boris Kravchenko, Sergey Krivenko, Sergey Litovchenko, Elena Masyuk, Tamara Morschakova, Evgeny Myslovsky, Leonid Nikitinsky, Leonid Parfenov, Igor Pastukhov, Sergey Pashin, Mara Polyakova, Ella Polyakova, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, Nikolay Svanidze, Anita Soboleva, Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Irina Khakamada, Sergey Tsyplenkov, Pavel Chikov, Ilya Shablinsky, Maksim Shevchenko, Igor Yurgens, Andey Yurov 

Source: web site of the Human Rights Council