Magomed Mutsolgov: Human rights activists demand an end to repressions in Ingushetia

26 January 2020

Magomed Mutsolgov heads the human rights organisation Mashr [Peace] in Ingushetia

Source: Kavkazsky uzel

On 27 December 2019, criminal proceedings were instituted against eight leaders and participants of the Ingush protest movement. Malsag Uzhakhov, Akhmed Barakhoyev and Musa Malsagov were charged under the article on the creation of an extremist community, and Barakh Chemurziev, Bagaudin Hautiev, Ismail Nalgiev, Zarifa Sautieva and Akhmed Pogorov were charged with participation in it. From mid-January, defendants in this criminal case began to be arraigned.

The absurdity of the accusation is obvious to most lawyers and human rights activists who are familiar with the accused and the circumstances of their criminal prosecution.

There is no doubt that the entire criminal case initiated regarding the events of 27 March 2019 in Magas is politically motivated, not based on law but legitimated after the fact. The new charge is being seen as a sign of the impotence of the investigation to prove the guilt of the aforementioned persons in allegedly committing a crime under Article 318, Section 2, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, under which they have all been charged so far.

The criminal prosecution of all these people is punishment for their civic activism. The mass rallies held in Ingushetia in October and November 2018 demonstrated to the whole country the peaceful nature of the Ingush protest against the arbitrariness of the authorities, and the sense of responsibility and ability to self-organise ofthe population of the republic, including ensuring compliance with the rule of law when conducting mass rallies.

After a provocation on the part of the authorities against some residents of the Ingushetian republic in the car park of the Chuvash National Television and Radio Company, repressions began, claiming hundreds of victims. The new charge brought against the leaders and participants in the popular protest is a continuation of these repressions. At its core, in the opinion of a large number of jurists and lawyers, is the accusation of creating or participating in an extremist community which is delusional and not based on actual events of recent years.

We are sure that the fabrication of a new criminal case is taking place before our eyes, and this is considered to be a crime by public officials in the eyes of the law. It is obvious to us that the new prosecution clearly aims to satisfy the thirst for the “blood” of civil activists who dared to boldly and openly disagree with the arbitrariness and violation of the law committed by the regional authorities. Likewise with all the trials aimed at the elimination of the clergy and civil society in Ingushetia. And the fabrication of a criminal case at the demand of a representative of the government is the execution of a criminal order, using the government’s official powers. None of the leaders and activists of the protest movement who today became defendants in a criminal case for the alleged creation of and participation in an extremist community, have committed any such crime.

In ruling to open a criminal case, the investigation is using various formulations that do not explain the essence of the charges but simply set out sundry facts, criminalising them and mixing them in with absolutely crazy delusions.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation does not give preference to the religious or traditional foundations of one community or another. Moreover, it guarantees their equality and security.

Article 28 states: “Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or together with other any religion or to profess no religion at all, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious and other views and act according to them.”

Paragraph 3 of Article 29 states: “No one may be forced to express his views and convictions or to reject them.”

Under various pretexts, we are being deprived of our constitutional rights.

Article 30 states: “Everyone shall have the right to association, including the right to create trade unions for the protection of his or her interests. The freedom of activity of public association shall be guaranteed.”

Article 31 states: “Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, meetings and demonstrations, marches and pickets.”

Article 45 states: “1. State protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall be guaranteed in the Russian Federation. 2. Everyone shall be free to protect his rights and freedoms by all means not prohibited by law. “

These are rights of the citizens of our country and the state is obliged to ensure their observance.

The practice of the prosecution of representatives of civil society for open, peaceful and lawful expression of their opinions, their position as citizens, is detrimental to society and the foundations of the entire legal system of this country. The practice of repression is detrimental and unacceptable.

The human rights organisation Mashr considers the new criminal case brought against Malsag Uzhakhov, Akhmed Barakhoyev, Musa Malsagov, Barakh Chemurziev, Akhmed Pogorov Bagaudin Hautiev, Ismail Nalgiev and Zarifa Sautieva to be unlawful, unreasonable and politically motivated. All the actions aimed at the elimination of the Spiritual Сentre of Muslims in the Republic of Ingushetia, the Council of the Ingush people, the Ingush Council of National Unity and other non-governmental non-profit organisations are nothing more than фт anti-constitutional struggle against the people of Ingushetia. This is a continuation of the mass repressions already deployed against the residents of the republic. We demand an end to the unlawful persecution of protestors in Ingushetia.

Translated by Anna Bowles

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