17 Jan 2018 13:51

Kremlin doesn't consider detention of head of Chechen branch of Memorial sign of campaign against rights activists

MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) - The detention of the head of the branch of Memorial in Chechnya does not mean that there is a campaign against independent human rights activists there, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

"I don't think such conclusions can be drawn based on the well-known situation surrounding the drug-related detention of a prominent Memorial leader in Chechnya. An investigation is under way, and only investigators have the right to decide whether these accusations are substantiated," Peskov told reporters on Wednesday in response to a question as to whether the Kremlin is concerned about what is happening to Memorial in Chechnya and Ingushetia, where some say a coordinated campaign against independent human rights organizations is under way.

"We do not believe it is possible" to draw general conclusions on the basis of this incident, Peskov said.

Peskov also pointed out that the burning of a Memorial office had occurred in a different region, Ingushetia.