Monday, February 3, 2020

171 Russian Rights Activists and Public Figures Demand Release of Ingushetia’s Zarifa Sautiyeva

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 28 – One hundred seventy-one prominent Russian human rights activists and other public figures have signed an open letter to the Russian Investigation Committee calling for the release of Zarifa Sautiyeva, the only Ingush woman in detention for her role in the protests who is now accused of being the organizer of an extremist group.

            Among the signatories are Yabloko’s Nikolay Rybakov, St. Petersburg deputy Boris Vishnevsky, writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, director Aleksandr Sokurov, and Civic Support leader Svetlana Gannushkina ( and

            Meanwhile, Izabella Yevloyeva, the head of the Fortanga portal, asks the Ingush republic leaders how they assess the latest suggestions by prosecutors that Ingush activists are involved in the formation of an extremist organization (

            While the republic leaders have not yet spoken out in defense of their own people, she continues, Ingush still place their hopes in them because the people know that these charges come not from the Ingush government but from Moscow and hope that their own republic government will ultimately come out in support of them.

            But Yezloyeva warns that the patience of the Ingush people is not inexhaustible and that if the republic authorities continue to ignore those in jail and those in the streets, they must recognize that they are “ignoring the people of Ingushetia” and the people of Ingushetia will not forget that.

            And in today’s only judicial hearing, activist Zelimkhan Bopkhoyev admitted that he had struck a policeman during the protest last March 26 but that he had done so to prevent the police from visiting violence on others rather than to attack them for political motives. His lawyers called this “a partial acknowledgement” of his guilt (

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