Former head of the Grozny branch of the Memorial Human Rights Center Oyub Titiyev said that he has begun working at its Moscow office.
“I will work in Moscow, the contract has already been signed,” Titiyev told Interfax on Monday.
The Memorial Human Rights Center told Interfax that Titiyev has been appointed an analyst.
“Human rights work in Chechnya is still continued, we are still involving lawyers to represent the defendants in courts, but the branch will not continue working as it used to so far,” Titiyev said.
It will be possible to resume the Chechen office’s work “if human rights activists are not prosecuted there, but it’s not like that now,” he said.
On March 18, Chechnya’s Shali Town Court sentenced Titiyev to four years of imprisonment for possessing a large quantity of drugs.
According to the sentence, Titiyev was found in possession of at least 207.84 grams of marijuana not intended for dealing during an inspection of his vehicle on January 9, 2018.
In May, Titiyev’s lawyer asked the Shali Town Court to release his client on parole. The court ruled in favor of the parole request on June 10.
The human rights campaigned maintained that the police had planted drugs in his car and that the criminal case was initiated by the Chechen authorities in order to hinder Memorial’s activities in the region.
Meanwhile, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that “no one in Chechnya is glad that Titiyev has ended up under investigation” but “his problems have nothing to do with human rights activism even if he were a member in all organizations of this sort in the world,” because “he is being brought to justice on suspicion of drug possession.”