In the Shali court, questioning of the prosecution's witnesses in the case of Oyub Titiev was completed

12.10.2018

The court then proceeded to question defense witnesses.

On October 8 and 9, the Shali City Court witnessed the seventeenth and eighteenth days of proceedings in the case against the head of the Grozny office of the Memorial Human Rights Center, Oyub Titiev. Because of his human rights activism, drugs were planted on him and he was detaines on January 9, 2018 and arrester on January 11.

Before the trial began on October 8, Svetlana Gannushkina, member of the Board of the Memorial and chairman of the Civic Assistance Committee, read an open letter written by Sergey Kovalev, the Soviet dissident and human rights advocate and Memorial Society boardmember.

The court planned to question Magomed Danchayev, a traffic police officer, first. He participated in the second Oyub’s detention on January 9 and went to retrieve expert witnesses, as he was ordered to do by his superiors. Danchayev managed to answer only a few questions, after which he became ill and the questioning was postponed to the next day.

After that, at the request of the prosecutor Dzhabrail Akhmatov, the proceedings were closed for the questioning of active officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Zubair Elmurzayev and Khamzat Tumzhakhanov, who were questioned on October 8 and 9 respectively.

Rizvan Suleymanov, deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs investigation unit in Grozny, was questioned in court earlier and said that Elmurzayev, Tumzhakhanov and another officer arrived to Grozny on January 9 (on the day of Oyub’s detention, but before the criminal case was opened) for operational search procedures of Oyub. There they allegedly met Suleimanov «by chance." He told his colleagues information which had been «coincidentally» given to him a little earlier from a drug user he knows, Amadi Baskhanov. The latter allegedly saw Oyub smoking cannabis twice in Grozny in 2017.

The interrogation of these witnesses could be very important for clarifying exactly how the case against Titiev was falsified. It was probably because of this that the state prosecutors did not want the press and visitors to attend this part of the proceedings.

On the morning of the second day, Oyub’s family, friends and colleagues congratulated him on being awarded with the prestigious award, the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which is given annually «to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond." At the award ceremony in Strasbourg, Alexander Cherkasov, chairman of the Board of the Memorial Human Rights Center, read a message from Oyub (see the text in Russian).

After the closed questioning of officer Tumzhakhanov, the court was reopened to the public. His condition having improved, Danchayev was questioned. Unfortuantely, the improved health did not help him communicate anything important on the case.

After the questioning of Danchayev, two witnesses for the defense were brought to the stand: Oyub’s neighbor, Sheikh-Magomed Mezhiyev, and old acquaintance, Ali Aliyev. They said that Titiev has always led and continues to lead a healthy lifestyle. He plays sports, is an observant muslim, and, in general, avoids picking up bad habits. Both witnesses also said that on January 9, Oyub had a pistol with him. After the arrest, this pistol and other things disappeared.

The next proceedings will take place on October 15 starting at 10am. The defense plans to question their witnesses over the course of two — three days.

Details on the court days and comments from the defense lawyers can be found here (in Russian).

Программа: Горячие точки
Программа: Поддержка политзэков

Титиев Оюб Салманович родился 24 августа 1957 года, живёт в селе Курчалой Чеченской Республики, правозащитник, руководитель грозненского представительства Правозащитного центра (ПЦ) «Мемориал».

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