The Head of Memorial's Office in Grozny (Chechnya) Detained

09.01.2018

In the morning of January 9, 2018 members of Human Rights Center Memorial’s office in Grozny (Chechen Republic) came to the office, except the head of it, Oyub Titiev.

He was absent. In a couple of hours, Memorial members called Titiev’s relatives and found out that in the morning he had left home for work. Titiev lives in the village of Kurchaloi.

At 9 a.m. Titiev was going to meet his acquaintance in the village of Mairtup of the Kurchaloi district and go to Grozny. This acquaintance waited for about an hour and then started calling Titiev, but the latter did not pick up. Then he started searching for Oyub.

Near the bridge on the river Khumyk, between Kurchaloi and Mairtup, he saw 5–6 officers of the traffic police, police vehicle and Titiev’s car which was being searched by on of the officers. Oyub himself was standing nearby. The witness saw that the search was thorough: the bonnet and the trunk were open, a spare wheel was taken out of the trunk and laid on the ground.

The acquaintance got out of the car and headed to Ouyb but the latter made him understand that he should go away. In 20 minutes the acquaintance came back. The cars and people were still staying on the roadside, and again Oyub signaled that his acquaintance should drive by without stopping.

The friend found out that both cars then entered Kurchaloi. He assumed that Oyub was taken to the Kurchaloi police department and went there. He was not allowed to enter the building but he learned from unofficial sources that Oyub was there. There was Oyub’s car standing in the yard of the department — car had the same colour and was of the same brand.

The attorney came from Grozny to Kurchaloi police department to represent Oyub but he was said that Titiev was not there. The attorney was not allowed to enter the building of the department.

Titiev’s phone was not switched off but noone picked up.

Head of Memorial’s Hot Spots programme Oleg Orlov informed Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Presidential council on human rights and the development of civil society, about the situation. Fedotov called the Chechen Ministry of internal affairs. He got the answer that they did not hear anything about the events but they would find out.

Fedotov called Kheda Saratova, member of the Chechen human rights Council. Saratova was said in the Kurchaloi police department that they had Titiev.

Oleg Orlov also called Russian Ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova. Her apparatus officers were also going to inquire into the events.

At around 5 p.m. deputy minister of internal affairs of the Chechen Republic Apti Alaudinov said Moskalkova that Oyub Titiev was held in the Kurchaloevski police department.

Alaudinov promised Moskalkova that human rights defenders, ONK members and the attorney would be allowed to meet Titiev.

At 6 p.m. the press-service of the Chechen ombudsman informed that drugs were found in Oyub Titiev's car.