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Criminal case launched against head of Memorial Human Rights Center’s branch in Chechnya

January 10, 12:27 UTC+3 GROZNY

Oyub Titiyev is accused of illegal drug possession

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GROZNY, January 10. /TASS/. A criminal case over illegal drug possession has been initiated in Russia’s Chechnya against Oyub Titiyev, the head of the Memorial Human Rights Center’s Grozny branch, member of the regional Human Rights Council Kheda Saratova told TASS on Wednesday.

"A criminal case over illegal drug possession has been launched against Oyub Titiyev under Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code," she said. "His lawyer and I were allowed to meet with him, I had a chance to ask him questions, he doesn’t plead guilty. He also says that law enforcers did not take any illegal actions against him," Saratova added.

According to her, she also had a conversation with police officers who participated in Titiyev’s detention. "They say that Titiyev was stopped for traffic violation, they did not even know who he was. During the check, a bag containing a drug substance was found in his car. We will keep an eye on this case," Saratova stressed.

Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on Titiyev’s detention. "This question should be forwarded to law enforcement agencies as there are specific charges, I cannot comment on it," he told reporters.

Sources in Chechnya’s law enforcement agencies told TASS earlier that during preventive activities carried out along the highway connecting Oiskhara and Mesker Yurt, local police stopped Oyub Titiyev, who was driving a Lada Kalina car, for an identity check. A plastic bag containing about 180 grams of a plant-based substance smelling of marijuana was found in the car, seized and sent for an examination to a forensic center.

A source in the Memorial center said earlier that Titiyev had been detained at 10:30 on January 9. The center turned for help to Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova and Chairman of the Russian Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov. Chechnya’s Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev also reported about Titiyev’s detention and the discovery of a substance smelling of marijuana in his car.

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