♦ This past week board members of Memorial Human Rights Centre were co-signatories of a letter to President Putin [r] regarding threats recently directed against Grigory Shvedov, chief editor of Caucasian Knot news website.
The Centre also issued a statement recognizing Oksana Sevastidi as a political prisoner ♦
The Memorial Human Rights Centre is one of the most authoritative voices on human rights in Russia today. Based in Moscow, Memorial HRC is concerned with human rights throughout the Russian Federation. The organization has long-standing, special expertise on human rights in the North Caucasus, as is shown by two recent reports.
Memorial Human Rights Centre reported that law enforcement agencies in Chechnya were inspecting NGOs in the republic that receive foreign funding, and accusing employees of ‘engagement in subversive activities.’ A statement issued on the subject read (translation by Caucasian Knot): ‘First of all, the checks cover NGOs which receive foreign funding. Activists and employees of these NGOs are questioned and accused of involvement in subversive activities, and acting as foreign agents.’
Memorial Human Rights Centre also reported that Chechen law enforcement officers had taken Anzor Aliev, a resident of Sunzha in Ingushetia, hostage. Officers in Grozny detained Anzor Aliev and his father Kyuri Aliev on 23 January 2017. Kyuri Aliev returned home on 24 January, but Anzor Aliev has not been released. Anzor Aliev’s mother, Bulikhan, appealed to the office of Memorial Human Rights Centre in Nazran, Ingushetia, on 31 January. Memorial reports that Bulikhan told them her husband had been told to bring her other son, Shamil Aliev, back with him to Grozny: ‘Law enforcement officers threatened him that if he failed to obey, they would declare Anzor, whom they are keeping hostage, a terrorist and send him to prison for a long time.’ [translation by Caucasian Knot).
Memorial HRC is a member organization of the International Memorial Society. Executive director of Memorial Human Rights Centre is Natalya Sokolova. The board consists of Aleksandr Cherkasov (chair), Liudmila Vakhnina, Svetlana Gannushkina, Sergei Davidis, Anna Karetnikova, Oleg Orlov, Grigory Okhkotin, Vitalii Ponomarev, Yan Rachinsky and Dmitry Shkapov.
Memorial HRC [R]
- “An appeal has been sent to Putin about the threats against Caucasian Knot chief editor”, Memorial HRC, 31 January 2017;
- “Memorial has recognised Oksana Sevastidi as a political prisoner”, Memorial HRC, 1 February 2017;
Caucasian Knot news website [E]