Ongoing harassment of human rights defenders in Chechnya
Igor Kalyapin, a leading Russian rights activist was attacked last evening by masked men in Grozny, pelted with eggs, paint, and a cake after he was evicted from the hotel he was staying in.
Igor Kalyapin, who heads the Committee to Prevent Torture, had traveled to Grozny to witness the latest proceedings against two Ukrainian men facing charges for allegedly fighting against Russian forces during the first Chechen war in 1996.
Late on March 16, Kalyapin was ordered to leave his hotel by the hotel's administrator, accompanied by armed men.
As Kalyapin stood on the sidewalk outside the hotel, an RFE/RL correspondent watched as around 15 masked men attacked him, throwing eggs, paint, some sort of powder on him, and punching and kicking him.
Kalyapin did not appear to be seriously injured.
The incident happened a week after a minibus belonging to the Committee to Prevent Torture and carrying activists and journalists traveling to Grozny was attacked by some 20 masked men with knives and clubs.
Some of the journalists' equipment was smashed or stolen.
Acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Chechnya Apti Alaudinov told Interfax that local police launched a probe, “taking all necessary steps to identify those involved in the incident.”
The incident came a week after Kalyapin’s colleagues of the Joint Mobile Group, a fact-finding mission led by the Committee to Prevent Torture, were attacked by masked men in Ingushetia, near the Chechnya border. The JMG has already been subjected to attacks in the past. In December 2014, the offices of JMG in Grozny (Chechnya) were set ablaze. Activists were captured and searched by masked armed men. On June 3, 2015, the offices of the JMG in Grozny were again violently attacked and destroyed by an organized mob. These attacks were committed openly and videotaped, yet they remain unpunished.