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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: March 16, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Human Rights Lawyer Kalyapin Assaulted by Masked Men in Grozny
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Igor Kalyapin, a human rights lawyer and head of the Committee to Prevent Torture in Grozny, was attacked outside his hotel today, March 16, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing his colleague Dmitry Utyukin.

Kalyapin said that when he attempted to enter his room at the Grozny-City Hotel, he was met by the hotel administrator and police who expelled him from the hotel. Once outside, unidentified masked men attacked him, beating him and drenching him with zelyonka, an indelible green disinfectant, and flour, in a typical gesture of shaming in the region.

The attack on Kalyapin follows a severe assault on 8 journalists and rights activists who were traveling near the Chechen border March 9 to follow up on stories of human rights victims. Masked assailants beat them with sticks, putting several in the hospital, including the driver, with broken bones and cuts, then torched their minibus. Then later that evening, another group of masked intruders trashed the KPP's office and stole equipment.

Ingush police opened up an investigation, and later Chechen police nominally joined although earlier officials had blamed the human rights activists themselves for staging it.

The step-up in attacks on civil society appears to be related to the impending expiration April 5 of the term of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is likely to be kept in place by the Kremlin.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick