Human rights defenders' office ransacked in Grozny

posted 8 Jun 2015, 06:05 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Jun 2015, 06:14 ]
3 June 2015

Source: (info

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Centre reports that on 3 June 2015 Grozny-based human rights defenders have had their car smashed up and their office wrecked.

In a statement, the Centre said: "It is necessary for action to be taken to defend the life and safety of human rights activists in Chechnya. Today in Grozny a crowd set off for the offices of the Joint Mobile Group (which is headed by Igor Kalyapin) following a protest rally held in Grozny under the slogan 'No to the information war against Russia and the Chechen Republic!' Aggressive youths battered the car used by the human rights activists, then smashed the CCTV camera on the balcony of the Joint Mobile Group’s office to applause from the crowd which had gathered, after which they broke in and began to raid the office. The human rights activists escaped through a window. The Memorial Human Rights Centre expresses its deep concern at these developments and demands the immediate intervention of the federal authorities in order to protect the life and well-being of human rights defenders in Chechnya." 

Human rights defender Igor Kalyapin, head of the Joint Mobile Group, stated: "The office of the Joint Mobile Group has been taken by assault. Masked attackers have broken down the door with a sledgehammer. The car used by the Joint Mobile Group which was parked in the courtyard has been smashed up by the raiders. I have been unable to contact Apti Alaudinov, Chief of Police for the Chechen Republic – the General simply won’t answer his phone..."

Dmitry Peskov, press spokesman for Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, gave the following statement to journalists; "As far as I’m aware news has only just started to come in from Grozny, and so I doubt that the President has been informed yet. He will naturally be informed as soon as we have received details of the incident.”

The news agency RIA Novosti quotes Peskov as saying that, "The Russian President Vladimir Putin will be informed of the raid on the Joint Mobile Group’s office as soon as details of the incident have been released.”

Igor Kalyapin was quoted in Sergei Babinets’ blog quoted Igor Kalyapin as follows: "The police failed to appear on the scene during the entire two-hour raid. Our co-workers who were forced to jump out of the window ran into police officers who were patrolling on the other side of the building, but they ignored a request to intervene. They also made no attempt to halt the human rights activists who were fleeing in fear of their lives; the officers had obviously been deployed there as observers in order to ensure that the activists did not inadvertently harm any of the attackers.

Something else is curious; it’s only natural for equipment to get smashed up during a raid, but it seems out of character for the perpetrators to go to the effort of removing documents from the office. Why on earth would they need them? Ramzan Akhmatovich need only have asked and I could have photocopied them all for him...”

Translated by Joanne Reynolds