Russian Federation: Physical assault of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev

03/04/2018
Urgent Appeal

RUS 002 / 0418 / OBS 037
Physical assault /
Harassment
Russian Federation
April 3, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Republic of Dagestan, Russian Federation.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the physical assault of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev, Head of the Human Rights Center (HRC) Memorial office in Dagestan.

According to the information received, on March 28, 2018, unidentified person(s), physically assaulted Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev as he was leaving his house in Makhachkala to go to work. As he walked out, he noticed a car with dark tinted windows and heard footsteps approaching from behind, before being hit on the head and falling on the ground.

Although Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev was not able to identify the attacker(s), a witness to the incident later informed him that a man had jumped out of the car and hit him on the head, before running back to the car and leaving.

Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev was later admitted to the neurosurgical department of the Republican Clinical Hospital, where he was treated for moderate injuries and diagnosed with brain concussion, chest bruise and multiple injuries. Police was alerted of the incident immediately thereafter and is reportedly investigating it.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concerns following the assault of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev as this is the latest in a string of attacks targeting HRC Memorial and its members, as a retaliation for their work in North Caucasus and aimed at intimidating and silencing them.

Indeed, these events come at a time when HRC Memorial staff in Dagestan have received threats of reprisals for their work via SMS and phone calls from unidentified individuals. In addition, on January 22, 2018 the car used by HRC Memorial’s staff in Dagestan was set on fire.

The Observatory recalls that the Head of HRC Memorial in the neighbouring Republic of Chechnya, Mr. Oyub Titiev, was detained on January 9, 2018, put in pre-trial detention and subsequently falsely charged with possession of drugs [1]. The defender and his family were threatened by law enforcement authorities in an attempt to extract a confession. His lawyers have also faced acts of intimidation and harassment. Additionally, on January 17, 2018, HRC Memorial premises in Nazran, Ingushetia were the target of an arson attack.

The Observatory urges the Russian authorities to ensure the physical and psychological integrity and security of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev, Mr. Oyub Titiev, all HRC Memorial members and their relatives and to conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the physical assault of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev as well as into the arson attack of HRC Memorial premisesin Ingushetiaand car in Dagestan, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law.

The Observatory further urges the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Oyub Titiev and to put an end to all acts of harassment against him, all HRC Memorial members and human rights defenders in the North Caucasus. In the meantime, the Observatory urges Russian authorities to uphold his right to a fair trial.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Russia, urging them to:

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev, Mr. Oyub Titiev, HRC Memorial members and all human rights defender in the Russian Federation;

ii. Conduct an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the physical assault of Mr. Sirazhutdin Datsiyev as well as into the arson attack of HRC Memorial premises in Ingushetia and car in Dagestanin order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law

iii. Release Mr. Oyub Titiev immediately and unconditionally, as his detention is arbitrary since itmerely aims at sanctioning his peaceful and legitimate human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against all HRC Memorial members as well as all human rights defenders in Russia, including by putting an end to all forms of surveillance of their activities by local enforcement officials, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

v. Publicly recogniseat the level of the President of the Russian Federation the crucial role of human rights defenders as pillars of democracy and watchdogs of the rule of law and publicly condemn all attacks against human rights defenders, particularly in the Chechen Republic;

vi. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defendersadopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular with Articles 1, 12.1 and 12.2;

vii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

Addresses:

· Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 495 606 3602; + 7 495 625 3581
· Mr. Dimitri Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Twitter: @MedvedevRussia
· Mr. Sergueï Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 495 644 2203
· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 734 40 44, E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
· Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32 2 374 26 13. E-mail: mission.russian@vtxnet.ch
· Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe, France. Fax: (+33) (0) 3 88 24 19 74. Email: russia.coe@orange.fr

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Russia in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, April 3, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT: +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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