Statement of Solidarity with Grigory Shvedov in Defence of Freedom of Expression in the Chechen Republic

posted 12 Jan 2017, 06:00 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Jan 2017, 06:52 ]
10 January 2017


We, colleagues and comrades of chief editor of Caucasian Knot Grigory Shvedov, representatives of Russian civil society, journalists and responsible citizens, are deeply perturbed by the public and direct threats against Grigory, expressed in a cynical manner by a representative of the parliament of the Republic of Chechnya, Magomed Daudov.

We consider a situation where a highly place official publicly calls for physical reprisals against someone who heads a media outlet and is a leader in civil society to be absolutely impermissible for a civilised country.

We are certain that this situation constitutes nothing less than the making of a direct threat of reprisal, a threat to life and an attempt to interfere with the professional work of a journalist with the help of threats and intimidation. These actions, in our view, are evidence of a crime under Article 144, Section 3, of the Russian Criminal Code ‘hindering the lawful work of professional journalism’.

We are deeply concerned by the absence of public reaction to this situation on the part of the Russian authorities. We demand that they take immediate and effective measures to ensure the conditions for security of the work of journalists and human rights defenders in the North Caucasus. The systematic absence of a reaction on the part of the Russian authorities to statements of this kind by leaders of the Chechen Republic, who have repeatedly made such statements in the past, and the absence of an effective investigation of crimes in this region, including those against journalists and human rights defenders, have led to impunity and a situation in which 'everything is permitted.’ The recent conviction of Caucasian Knot journalist Zhalaudi Geriev, who was sentenced to three years in prison on fabricated charges, is one more confirmation of the systematic harassment of people in Chechnya for seeking to realise their constitutional right to freedom of expression of opinion.

We demand that the law enforcement agencies conduct an effective investigation and hold Magomed Daudov to account. We demand that the head of the federal Investigative Committee, A. I. Bastrykin, take personal control of the investigation into this case and declare the results of the investigation publicly and in a well-argued manner.

We appeal to the head of the Presidential Human Rights Council M. A. Fedotov and to the Human Rights Ombudsperson of the Russian Federation T. N. Moskalkova to support our demands and ask the leaders of government bodies in Russia and the Chechen Republic to react immediately and appropriately to this situation.

We express our solidarity with Grigory Shvedov, the chief editor of Caucasian Knot, and all independent journalists working in Chechnya. We are grateful to them for the very important work that they do each day in very difficult circumstances. In conditions of systematic repression of freedom of expression they are the only source of information from this region. For our part, we promise to ensure public oversight of this case and we shall continue to demand that the authorities observe the laws of our country and the international norms that guarantee freedom of expression of opinion and the unhindered work of journalists.

Natalia Taubina, director of the Public Verdict Foundation
Yury Dzhibladze, president of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of the Sova Centre for Information and Analysis
Valentin Gefter, director of the Institute of Human Rights
Valentina Cherevatenko, chair of the board of the Foundation for Civil Society Development and Human Rights, Women of the Don
Igor Kalyapin, chair of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights
Anna Sharogradskaya, director of the Regional Press Institute
Elena Shakhova, director of Citizens' Watch human rights organisation
Andrei Kalikh, freelance journalist
Aleksandr Peredruk, a spokesperson for St. Petersburg Soldiers' Mothers
Robert Latypov, chair of the Perm regional branch of the International Memorial Society
Barbara Pakhomenko, human rights activist
Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civic Assistance Committee 
Liudmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group 
Anita Soboleva, member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights 
Andrei Blinushov chair of Ryazan Memorial
Julia Sereda, member of the board of Ryazan Memorial 
Aleksandr Cherkasov, chair of the board of Memorial Human Rights Centre
Oleg Orlov, member of the board of Memorial Human Rights Centre 
 Liudmila Vakhnina, member of the board of Memorial Human Rights Centre
Lilia Shibanova, a member of the secretariat of the European Platform for Democratic Elections, a member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights 
Magomed Mutsolgov, journalist and human rights activist 
Karinna Moskalenko, a lawyer, founder of the Centre for International Protection, Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists 
Konstantin Baranov, a member of the Coordinating Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement (MPD) 
Andrei Yurov, an international human rights activist, member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights 
Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, civil society activist 
Galina Arapova, the Media Rights Defence Centre 
Elena Vilenskaya, the House of Peace and Nonviolence
Tatiana Chistova, film director 
Aleksei Kirillovich Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation 
Boris Timoshenko, head of the information service, Glasnost Defence Foundation 
Nikolai Rybakov, deputy chair of the Yabloko Party 
Mikhail Amosov, deputy of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg 
Sergei Lukashevsky, Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Centre
Arseny Roginsky, chair of the International Memorial Society 
Lev Ponomarev, All-Russian Movement For Human Rights 
Oleg Novikov, Public Verdict Foundation 
Osman Boliev, human rights activist
Dmitry Makarov, Youth Human Rights Movement 
Lydia Sviridova, journalist, civil society activist 
Natalia Yudina, Sova Centre for Information & Analysis
Viktor Yukechev, director of the Institute of the press-Siberia 
Mikhail Kaluzhsky, editor, Open Democracy, Russia 
Aleksei Kozlov, chief editor 
Aleksandr Delfinov, writer, journalist 
Olga Gnezdilova, lawyer
Denis Sokolov, head of the research center RAMCOM 
Boris Vishnevsky, head of Yabloko faction in the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, member of the Political Committee of the Yabloko party, columnist at Novaya Gazeta
Aleksandr Mnatsakanyan, Moscow 
Vyacheslav Bakhmin, Moscow 
Asmik Novikova, head of research programmes, Public Verdict Foundation 
Veronika Rozhkova, lawyer, Moscow 
Elena Gerasimova, director, Centre for Social and Labour Rights 
Boris Suranov, journalist 
Aleksandr Maishev, online media editor of the Caucasian Knot
Dmitry Belomestnov, journalist, human rights activist, Moscow 
Anastasia Ovsyannikova, journalist
Evgeny Grekov, civil society activist 
Maria Kravchenko, member of the Sova Centre for Information and Analysis
Zoya Svetova, journalist 
Mikhail Lashkevich, physicist, Moscow 
Marina Pisklakova, chair, Anna
Sergei Krivenko, member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights 
Dmitry Dubrovsky, historian, lecturer, associate fellow at the Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg 
Ernest Mezak, lawyer, Public Verdict Foundation (Syktyvkar) 
Anastasia Denisova, the Civic Assistance Committee
Natalia Dzyadko, Center for Prison Reform
Dmitry Kraiukhin, editor in chief, TsentrRus news agenc, Orel
Veronika Katkov, chair of the Orel regional branch, Golos
Irina Flige, Memorial Research and Information Centre, St. Petersburg 
Vissarion Aseev, human rights activist, expert with the Crimea Human Rights Group 
Mikhail Lebedev, civil society activist and volunteer, St. Petersburg 
Kristina Gorelik, journalist 
Kirill Koroteev, legal director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre
Irina Kizilova, journalist 
Andrei Rudomakh, North Caucasus Environmental Watch 
Irina Biryukova, lawyer, Moscow
Vadim Karastelev, project coordinator, Moscow Helsinki Group 
Andrei Suslov, director, Center for Civic Education and Human Rights, Perm 
Aleksei Sokolov, head of Legal Basis, Ekaterinburg 
Sergei Poduzov, Interregional public organization Individual and the Law, Yoshkar-Ola 
Anatoly Denisenko, pensioner, Essentuki 
Viktor Voronkov, president of the Center for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg 
Igor Kochetkov, director, Sphere, member of the board of the Russian LGBT Network 
Svetlana Kravets, psychologist, Moscow 
Valery Khatazhukov, chair of the Kabardino-Balkaria Regional Human Rights Center 
Elena Grishina, editor, Moscow
Vyacheslav Feraposhkin, journalist 
Dmitry Shevchenko, deputy coordinator of the NGO North Caucasus Environmental Watch, environmental journalist 
Yulia Adelkhanova lawyer 
Irena Podolskaya, philologist 
Maksim Burmitsky, lawyer, human rights activist 
Marina Dubrovina, lawyer of the Memorial Human Rights Centre 
Aleksandrina Elagina, Russiangate journalist, press secretary of the Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers 
Ivan Pavlov, lawyer, head of Team 29
Aleksei Babii, chair of Krasnoyarsk Memorial 
Aleksandr Kalikh, Perm Memorial
Boris Dolgin, editor, analyst 
Sofia Ivanova, chair of board of Ryazan region Golos
Sergei Davidis, member the board of Memorial Human Rights Centre 
Arkady Dubnov, journalist 
Igor Sazhin, human rights activist, Republic of Komi 
Stanislav Dmitrievsky, human rights activist, Nizhny Novgorod 
Nikolai Petrov, head of the Centre for Political and Geographical Research 
Vera Vasilieva, journalist, Human rights in Russia (
Liubov Moseeva-Helier, human rights lawyer, Kaluga section, For Human Rights
Magomed Tuaev, correspondent, Caucasian Knot 
Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair, "Ecodefence!"
Grigory Pasko, journalist
Anna Sevortyan, Civil Society Forum, Russia
Georgy Ramazashvili, historian
Arkady Gutnikov, director, Prince P.G. Oldenburg Institute of Law, St. Petersburg
Aleksandr Podrabinek
Tatyana Lipovskaya
Elena Denisenko, lawyer
Aleksandr Bekhtold, executive director, Ryazan section, For Human Rights
Igor Volkov, Moscow
Lena Dudukina, Human Rights House, Voronezh
Svetlana Kuzevanova, Media Rights Defence Centre
Vladimir Petrukhin, company director, Engels, Saratov region

All those wishing to sign the statement may do so at