Increased pressure on Ingush human rights defenders
Open letter to:
Vladimir Kolokoltsev , Minister of Interior of the Russian Federation
Yuri Chaika , Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Vladimir Lukin , Human rights commissioner of the Russian Federation
Stockholm, 30 July, 2013
Dear Minister of Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and Human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin,
I am writing on behalf of Civil Rights Defenders to express my deep concern about the security of MASHR, a prominent Ingush human rights organisation, as well as the well being of the organisation´s employees and its leader Magomed Mutsolgov.
According to recent information in various Ingush regional media, the head of the Republic of Ingushetia Yunus-bek Yevkurov prompted officials to instigate a criminal case against MASHR and its leader Magomed Mutsolgov during their visit to a camp for Chechen internally displaced people in Karabulak in July, where a group of women were on hunger strike. The order allegedly came as a reaction to the organisation´s annual reports, which detail human rights violations in Ingushetia.
In the past two years we have noted an increased pressure on MASHR from Ingush authorities and officials. In March 2013, the organisation was searched by representatives of the justice system and tax services twice, after which Karabulak prosecutors’ office issued a warning that the organisation may be considered for a shut-down if it refuses to register as a ‘’foreign agent.’’ Although MASHR successfully appealed the warning, on July 19 deputy prosecutor of Ingushetia stated that MASHR is an NGO performing the functions of a ”foreign agent.”
In the past two years, numerous articles have been written to discredit the organisation. Employees have been harassed and intimidated by officials. Several of the organisation´s employees have been kidnapped, beaten and tortured, and had their homes repeatedly searched. The authorities have failed to investigate a single case – often due to an unofficial request to shut down the cases.
Mutsolgov is a prominent human rights defender, who has survived four attempts on his life and two attempts of kidnapping. MASHR is Ingushetia´s first human rights organisation that has been offering free legal advice and assistance on cases involving disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture since its founding in 2005.
Civil Rights Defenders urges the government of the Russian Federation to protect MASHR and Magomed Mutsolgov from persecution in accordance with the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and contribute to an environment in which human rights defenders can work safely.
Tags: Human Rights Defenders, Magomed Mutsolgov, Mashr, Violence against human rights defenders, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Vladimir Lukin, and Yuri Chaika.