Sapiyat Magomedova, Human Rights Lawyer

Re: Sapiyat Magomedova, Human Rights Lawyer

To: President Dmitry A. Medvedev


Date: 2010-11-11

I am writing to you concerning the case of Sapiyat Magomedova. Ms. Magomedova is a human rights lawyer in Dagestan who has been the target and victim of assaults and threats committed by police officers in Khasavyurt. We understand she was assaulted on June 17, 2010 in the Khasavyurt police station and lodged a complaint against the officer who attacked her. However, although an investigation was commenced, it has now been stalled and seems to be purposely delayed. Furthermore, the officer in question has now filed a counter-allegation against her alleging that Ms. Magomedova insulted a public official while on duty.

I am a member of, and am writing on behalf of, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, (LRWC) a committee of lawyers who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally by protecting advocacy rights. LRWC campaigns for advocates in danger because of their human rights advocacy, engages in research and education and works in cooperation with other human rights organizations. LRWC has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

We are particularly concerned about any situation in which lawyers or other human rights workers are targeted for repression, intimidation, or other human rights abuses as retribution for the proper and lawful work they do on behalf of their clients and human rights in general. Given the various international agreements and other human rights instruments and treaties to which Russia is a signatory and party, this kind of misconduct towards lawyers can surely not be tolerated or permitted.

We accordingly call for your authorities to resume a proper, independent and impartial investigation of the complaints made by Ms. Magomedova. We call on you to suspend the officer(s) found to be responsible for the assault on Ms. Magomedova, at a minimum until the conclusion of any proceedings against them. Finally, given that Ms. Magomedova has been the subject of threats in the past, we call on you and your government to take appropriate measures to ensure her safety and that of her family.