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” (memohrc.org/ru/news_old/ingushskoe-delo-pravozashchitniki-prizvali-liderov-protesta-vernutsya-k-uchastiyu-v).
“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.,