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RUSSIAN FEDERATION:
JOURNALIST THREATENED BY CHECHEN OFFICIAL

Update info:
18 Jan 2017
Country:
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Subject:
Grigory Shvedov
Gender: m
Period:
20 Feb 2017
Distribution date:
18 Jan 2017
UA No:
004/2017

The speaker of the Chechen parliament used his Instagram account to threaten prominent journalist Grigory Shvedov on 6 January. Grigory Shvedov is the editor-in-chief of Caucasian Knot, an independent website reporting on the situation in the Caucasus.

Grigory Shvedov is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of one of the most authoritative news resources dedicated to the Caucasus region, Caucasian Knot. This media outlet and those working for it have regularly faced threats, harassment and physical violence in connection with their work, in particular for covering human rights in the North Caucasus, including Chechnya. 

On 6 January, Magomed Daudov, speaker of the Chechen parliament and one of the most powerful Chechen officials, directed thinly veiled threats at Grigory Shvedov. Magomed Daudov published a picture of a dog on his Instagram account with a knotted tongue signed “‘Caucasian Knot?”. In the caption he names the dog “Shved” and says that instead of “doing his useful job” he “practices in fights between dogs of other breeds” and has a “particular weakness for Caucasian sheepdogs”. He suggested that “Shved” should have his tongue cut to a normal size, and teeth removed. Magomed Daudov is a close associate of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov. The press secretary of the Chechen administration has denied that there were any threats in the post. 

Journalists who report on the situation in Chechnya are frequently threatened and some have lost their lives. Natalya Estemirova who was a frequent contributor to the Caucasian Knot website was abducted in Chechnya and killed in July 2009 and Anna Politkovskaya who reported on Chechnya was shot outside her Moscow apartment in October 2006. According to the Committee to Project Journalists 56 journalists have been killed in Russian since 1992.

UA: 4/17 Index: EUR 46/5442/2016 Issue Date: 9 January 2016

Take action

Please write immediately in Russian, English or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to conduct a prompt, effective and impartial investigation into the threats made to Grigory Shvedov, which is a crime under Article 144 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists”);
  • Urging them to condemn in the strongest manner the threats posted by Magomed Daudov and ensure that Grigory Shvedov is protected from any possible physical attacks;
  • Reminding the authorities that as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights the Russian authorities have an obligation to guarantee freedom of expression and protect journalists from threats and attacks.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 FEBRUARY 2017 TO:
Chairman of the Investigation Committee
Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin
Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation
Tekhnicheskii pereulok, dom 2
105005 Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 966 97 76
Salutation: Dear Chairman of the Investigation Committee

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Russian Federation
Fax: +7495 987 58 41 / +7495 692 17 25
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

And copies to:
Acting Head of the Investigation Committee for the Chechen Republic

Sergei Vasilevich Sokolov
Ul. Altaiskaya d.3
Grozny, 36400 Chechen Republic
Russian Federation
Fax: +7871 262 41 22
Email: ip-chechen@sledcom.ru

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.