New attempt to imprison Igor Kalyapin

Igor Kalyapin, chairman of Civil Rights Defender’s Russian partner Committee against Torture, has again been accused of disclosing state secrets. It is the third time that the Chechen law enforcement agencies instigates criminal proceedings against him.

“It is obvious that the Russian authorities in Chechnya have a lot to hide when they attack human rights defenders that investigate serous human rights abuses in the republic. We are deeply concerned about the security situation of Igor Kalyapin”, said Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Civil Rights Defenders.

Igor Kalyapin is the leader of the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) in Chechnya, a group that investigates especially sensitive cases of human rights violations in the North Caucasus. He is currently in Chechnya and has been questioned by an investigator. The investigator allegedly found evidence of a crime under Article 310 of the Russian Criminal Code in a number of mass media publications covering crimes committed by the Chechen police. Kalypin himself maintains that he has not disclosed any criminal investigation material.

“This appears to be part of a systematic intimidation campaign against the brave human rights defenders that work in JMG”, said Joanna Kurosz.

As late as 1 June a group of JMG-members were invited for a meeting by Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov and threatened.

Civil Rights Defenders cooperation with the Committee against Torture includes support to the Joint Mobile Group, whose members travel to Chechnya to monitor and investigate serious human rights violations. In 2009, the situation in the North Caucasus worsened significantly and in order to maintain presence on the ground, a group of human rights NGOs decided to organise visits to Chechnya on a rotational basis, to monitor and report on violations.

The most high-profile case of the group is the abduction of Islam Umarpashayev by members of the Chechen OMON. The Umarpashayev case is currently investigated by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Igor Kalyapin is the representative of the victim, and as such participates in the investigative activities.

Categories: News.
Tags: Committee Against Torture, Human Rights Defenders, Igor Kalyapin, and Joint Mobile Group.
Regions: The North Caucasus.