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Diplomats from four countries and a senior member of Amnesty International will join numerous human rights monitors in Shali tomorrow to observe the trial on trumped-up drugs charges of prominent human rights defender, Oyub Titiev.

If found guilty, Titiev, the head of the human rights organization Memorial in Grozny, faces up to 10 years in jail.

“A lot may have changed in Chechnya superficially over the last decade, but fundamentally it remains the same with the authorities using repressive tactics to torture or ‘disappear’ its opponents and persecute its critics,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research.

“Rather than catching up with my colleague, Oyub Titiev, in the comfort of his office, I am forced to see him through the bars of a cage inside a courtroom where he is being subjected to an outrageous, politically motivated trial. In Chechnya, where independence of the judiciary is non-existent this prosecution is a travesty of justice and all changes against Oyub must be immediately dropped.”

Background

Oyub Titiev’s trial is taking place in Shali town court.

In recent years, Memorial and its staff in Chechnya have been subjected to harassment, intimidation and physical violence. In 2009, Memorial member Natalia Estemirova was abducted near her home in Grozny and killed. No one has been brought to justice for her killing.