Following the release of Oyub Titiev, Director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Grozny (Chechnya), Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office Bärbel Kofler and French Ambassador for Human Rights François Croquette issued the following joint statement today (21 June):
We are glad and relieved that Oyub Titiev has been released prematurely from the penal colony today and is now free.
Now he must be allowed to continue his important work for Memorial in Chechnya, which serves the interests of the people there and defends their rights. Last year he was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights for this engagement.
Oyub Titiev, the head of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya, was sentenced on 18 March 2019 by a court in the Chechen town of Shali to four years in a penal colony. He was arrested on 9 January 2018 and had since been held in detention. The German Government has doubts as to whether rule-of-law standards have been upheld during the proceedings. Oyub Titiev’s predecessor, Natalia Estemirova, was murdered in 2009.
The main hearing in his case commenced in the Chechen town of Shali on 3 July 2018. The trial was observed by outside parties including the German Embassy and, in November 2018, Nils Schmid, a member of the German Bundestag.
In October 2018, the Council of Europe awarded Oyub Titiev the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. He was awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law in December 2018.