In response to Chechen authorities detaining Oyub Titiyev, the head of the Grozny office of the human rights group Memorial, for alleged drug-related crimes, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Chechnya’s detention of Oyub Titiyev demonstrates the determination of authorities to harass and intimidate civil society organizations, in hopes of silencing them,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Eurasia and Europe programs at Freedom House. “Chechen authorities have repeatedly fabricated drug possession charges to silence human rights defenders and independent journalists, as was the case with Ruslan Kutaev, a civic activist arrested in 2014 and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, and Zhalaudi Geriev, a journalist arrested in 2016 and sentenced to three years. Russia relentlessly pressures civil society and human rights organizations, especially in Chechnya.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 6.57, on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2017.

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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