Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation is seriously concerned over the situation with the human rights defenders of the Committee Against Torture in Chechnya and hopes for its easy solution.
Starting from the beginning of the week, after the Chairman of the Committee, a member of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation Igor Kalyapin published an application to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office with a request to verify the legality of statements of the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov about deportation out of Chechnya of the militants’ relatives and demolition of their houses down to the foundation, it has become more and more complicated to work for the organization’s employees and for Kalyapin himself.
At the present moment it has come to the fact that the building where the office of the Committee’s mobile group was based in Grozny, is burnt down. Investigative authorities are still finding out the reasons of fire, but according to the witnesses, most likely it was arson. The police officers who arrived at the scene of fire apprehended the human rights defenders without convincing reasons, took away their mobile phones (leaving them without communication for several hours) and the office equipment. After some time the Committee’s members were released, but the equipment was not returned.
Before that, on Saturday afternoon, there was a several thousand strong rally commemorating the victims of the 4 of December terrorist act. Members of the rally criticized the Committee Against Torture human rights defenders. Among their slogans were «Kalyapin go home $», «Ramazan!!! Protect us from the «dollar» human rights defenders», «V.V.Putin! Send Kalyapin out to his masters!» etc.
On Thursday, 11 December, in the Independent press-center in Moscow several youngsters interrupted the press-conference «Collective punishment as a method of struggle with armed underground resistance in Chechnya» during the report of Igor Kalyapin and threw raw eggs at the participants of the event.
A detailed chronology of events is presented in the blog of a member of the Committee.
The Head of the Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov commented on the situation:
«Yesterday there was a rally against terrorism in Grozny. On the photographs I saw slogans demanding deportation of the members of the Committee Against Torture, headed by a member of the Human Rights Council Igor Kalyapin. The members of the Committee left their office in Grozny, after that some unidentified persons set the office on fire and threatened them over the telephone. Igor Kalyapin is a principal and resolute fighter with terrorism. He thinks that struggling with terrorism it is not acceptable to use illegal methods, and I support him in this», – stated Fedotov. – I admit that Chechnya has its own traditions, but so far the Russian law does not include the liability of the relatives of the criminals for the committed crimes, and there can be no punishment of the relatives».
The Head of the Council already applied to the leaders of the country and conducted negotiations with the public authorities of the region.
At the same time, a number of Human Rights Council members, expressing sincere condolences to the relatives of the police officers, who died during the special operation in the House of Press on 4 December, are convinced that any measures against terrorism, which is a serious threat to the whole of Russia and is an unconditional evil, must be performed in strict compliance with the Russian laws.
Source: Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation web site