Oyub Titiev, head of the Memorial, a regional advocacy organization in Chechnya, has been charged according to article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal storing, acquisition and preparation of narcotics), Titiev’s lawyer told Novaya Gazeta.
Yekaterina Sokiryanskaya, director of the Analysis and Conflict Prevention Center, claims that the narcotics were planted on Titiev.
The press service of the regional Interior Ministry office in Chechnya told Interfax that “a polymer package with a substance of plant origin with the specific scent of marijuana weighing roughly 180 grams” had been found in the human rights activist’s car. The substance was confiscated and sent for examination at the Chechen Interior Ministry’s Expert Forensics Center. Titiev was also sent for a medical examination.
At 10:30 on Tuesday, January 9, Titiev was arrested and taken to the Kurchaloyevsky Interior Ministry department. The Memorial reported that Titiev’s car was stopped by people in Traffic Patrol Service uniforms when he had traveled a short distance from the town of Kurchaloi.
Titiev’s relatives explained that he had been traveling to a friend whom had planned to meet at 9:00 in Mayrtup, after which he would travel to Grozny. However, according to his friend, Titiev did not arrive at the arranged time. After waiting for more than an hour, his friend went to the bridge over the Khumyk river, which is between Kurchaloy and Mayrtup. There he saw five or six people in traffic patrol uniform, a special-purpose vehicle, and Titiev’s car.
The leaders of the Memorial have contacted Russia’s human rights ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova and Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.
In December 2016, the Memorial was placed on the registry of non-commercial organization “foreign agents”.