Committee against Torture to continue its activities in Chechnya
Representatives of the organization made an appropriate public statement at their Facebook account:
We continue our work! Yesterday in Grozny, unknown persons destroyed the office of the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders working under the auspices of the inter-regional public organization "Committee against Torture". Within a 1.5 hours, young masked men, armed with hammers, bits and hacksaws, were smashing our office. We officially state, that no representatives of law-enforcement agencies arrived at the site for this time, despite our telephone calls to the duty departments of the MIA of the Chechenian Republic and Grozny. No measures were taken by them to stop these criminal activities. We also state that the information about the incident, disseminated by the Chechen media, is incorrect. None of our lawyers came out to the crowd and didn't shout anythings which is written in the local media and retold by certain public activists (such as that the Committee against Torture doesn't defend murderers). Our organization defends rights of people, any people. We have followed this principle for 15 years and are not going to deviate from it.
What regards the situation regarding the killing the Chechen national Dadayev by Stavropol policemen, we emphasize: none of his relatives have appealed for assistance. It doesn't matter to us whether the people whose rights are violated are guilty, whether they are good or bad... If they appeal to our organization – we start working anyway. We are convinced that the people, who were gathered for the picket, didn't know for sure what they were doing there, whereas the destruction of the office was conducted not by ordinary picketers, but by somebody else. Moreover, it could not be held by Dadayev's relatives. As a result, the office of our organization and the apartment of our staff were destroyed in the center of the “safest city”, with the connivance of the authorities. We have already sent the application to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Investigative about the crime. We state that the work of the Joint Mobile Group won't be stopped.
In the official press-release Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, stated:
"Civil society organizations, and particularly human rights NGOs, remain under siege in Russia – not only through legal pressure, but through physical attacks, as this deplorable event in Grozny has reminded us. The atmosphere of lawlessness in the country, especially in Chechnya, must stop here with a swift and credible investigation by the authorities and accountability for those behind this incident."
Let us remind that on June 3 a group of unidentified persons, armed with hammers and crowbars, destroyed the office and the apartment of the staff of “Committee against Torture” in Grozny. A criminal case on the article “Destruction of property”, envisaging up to 5 years of imprisonment, has been instigated in Grozny as a result. A source of the news agency TASS in the law-enforcement agencies also stated that several people, suspected in the involvement in the destruction of the office, had been detained.