Russian Court Convicts Kutayev for Speaking on Chechen History | Freedom House

Russian Court Convicts Kutayev for Speaking on Chechen History

Washington

In response to a Russian court's conviction of Ruslan Kutayev, recognized by Memorial and others as Chechnya’s first political prisoner, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The  guilty verdict in the case against Ruslan Kutayev shows that Chechen authorities have no qualms about persecuting those who take a principled position on Chechen history,” said David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House.  “We already knew that people who oppose human rights violations in Chechnya and the dictatorship that has flourished under Ramzan Kadyrov were targeted. Now, the Kadyrov regime’s decision to lock up this revered public figure for four years is nothing more than political retribution for Kutayev's refusal to heed a ban on observing the 70th anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of the Chechen people – a ban that was insulting to Chechnya’s tragic history. By forcing their own people to deny the past they all share, the Chechen authorities have positioned themselves against Chechens’ collective memory and created a new breed of political persecution in the republic. We call for an immediate reversal of the ruling and for Kutayev to be released without delay.”

Ruslan Kutayev is a former Chechen politician and prominent public figure. On February 20, two days after holding an event on the Chechen deportation and three days before the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics, he was arrested, beaten, and falsely charged for drug possession.

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014 and Freedom of the Press 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.

To learn more, visit:
Chechen Authorities Place Political Prisoner on Trial for Discussing Chechen History
Op-ed: Putin’s Russia: Enabler of Repression
Freedom in the World 2014: Russia
Freedom of the Press 2014: Russia
Freedom on the Net 2013: Russia
Nations in Transit 2014: Russia
Freedom House on Russia: 2003-2014

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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