Monday, March 22, 2021

Twenty Prominent Moscow Rights Activists Call on Ingush Seven to Take Part in Trial and Husband Their Strength to Do So

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 20 – Twenty of the most prominent human rights activists in Moscow have signed an open letter to the Ingush Seven calling on them to return to the courtroom where their trial is taking place and to consider ending their hunger strike in order to preserve their strength to defend themselves and their cause.

            “We respect your decision to declare a hunger strike to protest against judicial arbitrariness,” the open letter says; and “we understand what lies behind your decision to refuse to take any further part in the judicial process” (

            “But taking part in the trial is the only change to defend your rights, to overturn with facts the accusations against you and to show their complete baselessness … not only to Ingush society but to Russian society as a whole,” the 20 rights activists from Memorial and allied groups continue.

            Further, in words that many will see as a call to end their hunger strike, the appeal asks the Ingush Seven “to think about the need to preserve your strength for effective participation in the judicial process.” Only if all of them are healthy and strong can they be effective in the courtroom, it suggests.

            This Moscow appeal is likely to get a mixed reaction among the Ingush Seven and Ingush society more generally. On the one hand, all of them will certainly welcome this new attention from activists in Moscow which it must be said has not been confined to this appeal alone. (e.g.,

            But on the other hand, the Ingush will recognize that this attention came not when their entire nation was being subjected to repression and massive arrests but rather when they took the steps of declaring a hunger strike and then refusing to take part in the Essentuki court proceedings.

           Those who take this latter view -- and they are certain to be more numerous than the signatories of the appeal may have considered -- are thus likely to view the Moscow activists as unwittingly promoting an outcome the Moscow powers that be want rather than actually ensuring that justice is done for the Ingush Seven and the Ingush nation. 


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