20 Jun 2018 19:36

Probe into rights activist Titiyev's detention was incomplete - Human Rights Council

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - The refusals to open a criminal case based on the statement made by Oyub Titiyev, the head of the Chechen office of the human rights center Memorial, saying drugs were planted on him were ungrounded and unmotivated, according to the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council.

"A study of the materials provided lead us to conclude that all refusals to open a criminal case based on Oyub Titiyev's statement were ungrounded and unmotivated," the permanent commission on scientific and legal evaluations said in its decision, which has been posted on the council website, on Tuesday.

The investigator's conclusions are not based on sufficient evidence that Titiyev's statement was false, the statement said.

Besides, the object of the procedural probe conducted on the basis of Titiyev's statement "was artificially and illegally narrowed by the investigators, with the deliberate removal of the circumstances which, if identified, would have inevitably led to the conclusion that the criminal case was falsified," it said.

"In all the decisions to refuse to open a criminal case, the arguments presented by Oyub Titiyev about a first stop by Chechen Interior Ministry officials were disproved by the investigator solely by questioning the officials who reported the circumstances of the documented stop, which, according to Titiyev, was not the first and was staged - that is, there was subsitution of evidence that make up the object of the procedural probe," the council said.

This "was accompanied by statements made by investigators violating Oyub Titiyev's presumption of innocence."

The council also said the probe was incomplete and ineffective and the requirements of urgency and timeliness were not observed.

"All these defects make it possible to conclude that these final procedural decisions were illegal," it said.

The decision was drafted by Mara Polyakova, chairman of the commission and a member of the council, and Sergei Nasonov, a commission expert and assistant professor at Moscow State Law University.

The news of Titiyev's detention came on January 9. He was charged with possessing a large amount of drugs. On January 11, Chechnya's Shali Court placed him under arrest. After that, his detention was prolonged several times by one month.

Titiyev denies all wrongdoing and insists that the drugs were planted. His lawyer Pyotr Zaikin filed a statement with the Investigative Committee's Chechnya branch asking that a criminal case be opened against the police officer who, he believes, planted a bag containing narcotics while searching Titiyev's car.