Russian Federation: Pax Christi International issues letter to Russian Federation in support of Gregory Shvedov, the Editor-In-Chief of the Caucasian Knot
Pax Christi International condemns the threats against Gregory Shvedov, the Editor-In-Chief of the Caucasian Knot, an independent Russian media portal founded by our 2013 peace prize laureate Memorial. Reporting on current developments in Chechnya has become increasingly dangerous for journalists and human rights defenders. Read our letter to the Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation in support of Front Line Defenders' action. We call upon others to also take a stand.
Mr. Aleksandr Konovalov
Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation
Zhitnaya St. 14
119991 Moscow GSP-1
Brussels, January 12th 2017
Pax Christi International, a Catholic peace movement that promotes peace, respect of human rights, justice & reconciliation throughout the world, is deeply concerned about the threats against human rights journalist Gregory Shvedov, which we believe to be related to his legitimate and peaceful human rights work. Through this letter, we stand with him by supporting the campaign of Front Line Defenders, an organization protecting human rights defenders at risk.
Gregory Shvedov is a human rights journalist and editor-in-chief of the Caucasian Knot, an independent Russian media portal founded in 2001 by the International Historical and Human Rights Society ‘Memorial’. In 2013, Memorial received Pax Christi International’s peace prize for its outstanding work in keeping alive the memory of the victims of political repression in Russia’s recent history and for its deep commitment to human rights in the country.
Caucasian Knot covers current developments in the Caucasus region and employs a network of local correspondents. It is well known for its courageous reporting on human rights abuses, including those committed by Chechen authorities.
On 7 January 2017, Magomed Daudov, the Chairman of the Parliament of Chechnya, published a post on his Instagram account entitled ‘How to untie the Caucasian Knot?’. The Chairman called Gregory Shvedov a “mongrel dog who goes by the nickname Shved” and threatened him by stating that he would “tame his tongue to a standard size” and “pull his wisdom teeth out”.
On 9 January 2017, Gregory Shvedov filed a complaint against the actions of Magomed Daudov before the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation under Article 144 Part 3 of the Code of Criminal Offences of the Russian Federation (impeding legitimate and professional work of journalists) as he considers Magomed Daudov’s public statement to be a direct threat, not only against him, but against the entire journalist community in the Caucasus region.
In general, reporting on current developments in Chechnya has become increasingly dangerous for journalists and human rights defenders. Pax Christi International therefore urges the authorities of the Russian Federation to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against Gregory Shvedov, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Gregory Shvedov;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Russia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Ms. Greet Vanaerschot