Violence and threats against human rights defenders must be investigated

Rustam Matsev, Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

Rustam Matsev, Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

In a letter to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Yuri Chaika, we express our concern over the threats that were directed at Mr. Rustam Matsev in Kabardino-Balkaria on May 31.

Mr. Matsev is a defense lawyer working for the human rights organization Memorial Human Rights Center in Kabardino-Balkaria.

On May 31, he went to the detention center in Nalchik to meet with one of his clients. While waiting to be admitted to his client, a law enforcement official involved in the investigation of the case accused Mr. Matsev of pushing his client to lie. He went on to threaten the lawyer by stating that “members of illegal armed groups are being eliminated through special operations and lawyers can be stopped too” and he assured Mr. Matsev that they would meet again.

Mr. Matsev perceives these statements as a direct threat to his life and has already written a letter to the Prosecutor General to bring attention to his case.

We urge the relevant federal and local Russian authorities to ensure that violence or intimidation against human rights defenders in Russia in the course of their work are fully and impartially investigated.

We also call on the Russian authorities to take all necessary measures in accordance with the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and advance an environment in which human rights defenders can continue their legitimate human rights work in a safe manner.

Letter to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation

Categories: Statements.
Tags: Kabardino-Balkaria and Memorial.
Regions: The North Caucasus.