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Head of the Committee Against Torture announces its imminent closure

8 July 2015

Igor Kalyapin, chair of the Committee Against Torture, has announced that his organisation will not continue to operate in the capacity of a foreign agent, and that at the organization’s upcoming general meeting it will take a decision to close down. 

Kalyapin told that other staff members of the Committee Against Torture share his point of view and support the proposal to close the organization. The Committee Against Torture was founded in Nizhny Novgorod in 2000 and has the status under Russian law of an interregional NGO. 

Branches of the Committee operate in the Republic of Mari El, the Republic of Bashkortostan, and in the regions of Orenburg and Moscow; since 2009 a Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders has operated in the Republic of Chechnya. Over the past six months the office of the Joint Mobile Group in Grozny has at various times been set on fire and ransacked. 

(c) Committee Against Torture

The Committee helps victims of torture in drawing up complaints, represents their interests in court, including before the European Court of Human Rights, and helps them obtain compensation and medical rehabilitation. 

On 16th January 2015 the Committee Against Torture was included in the register of foreign agents. On 8th July 2015 the Nizhny Novgorod regional court dismissed the Committee’s appeal against designation as a foreign agent. 

The Ministry of Justice asserts that the aim of the work of the Committee Against Torture is: “…influencing the decisions taken by state organisations, directed at changing the policy carried out by these bodies.” The Committee Against Torture insists that its work is in line with state policy on guaranteeing the protection of citizens from torture. 

Moreover, Kalyapin said, the prosecutor’s office considered a statement he made about Crimea at a public rally in personal capacity to be political activity. 

Translated by Frances Robson