Target: Yurii Chaika, Prosecutor General
Goal: Investigate threats against a human rights activist and protect him from further intimidation and violence
Human rights activist Igor Kalyapin has been the target of a campaign of intimidation and harassment by authorities in Chechnya after he spoke out against recent government actions. It is imperative that this harassment be stopped and that he be allowed to carry out his human rights work unfettered. Sign the petition and demand an investigation into the harassment of Igor Kalyapin.
A recent terrorist attack in Chechnya resulted in the deaths of fourteen law enforcement officers and one civilian, as well as the eleven people involved in carrying out the attack. In the wake of the tragedy, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov vowed to expel the families of the attackers from Chechnya. In the days that followed, dozens of people, including young children, were forced from their homes, which were then burned to the ground.
Igor Kalyapin was an outspoken critic of these actions, calling for a criminal investigation into the forced evictions and denouncing Chechnya’s illegal use of collective punishment as retaliation for the actions of a small group of individuals. He was subsequently called out and threatened via Kadryov’s Instagram account, and was heckled, threatened, and pelted with eggs during a speech. Despite clear and readily available video evidence of the latter incident, no investigation has been launched.
Free speech is a universal human right, and human rights defenders like Kalyapin must be allowed to do their work free from harassment, intimidation, and threats. Sign the petition demanding protection for Igor Kalyapin and his colleagues, and urge authorities in Chechnya to investigate the legality of the recent family evictions.
Dear Prosecutor General,
Human rights defenders are among the most valuable–and vulnerable–members of our society. They put their own safety and well-being on the line to stand up for the rights of others, even though it would be easier for them to stay silent. They work to protect other people–and we, in turn, must work to protect them.
Activist Igor Kalyapin has been the target of a campaign of intimidation and harassment based on his human rights work. Even more distressing, the harassment he has suffered has been endorsed, if not instigated and perpetuated, by high-ranking Chechen officials. It is imperative that Kalyapin and his colleagues be protected from threats and violence, and that all harassment against them be seriously investigated.
Kalyapin became a target for harassment after he questioned the legality of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadryov’s policy of collective punishment for the families of terrorists. After an armed group attacked and killed fourteen law enforcement officers and one civilian, Kadryov vowed to drive the families of the now-dead perpetrators out of Chechnya. When Kalyapin called for a criminal investigation into this policy, Kadryov called him out via Instagram. Kalyapin was subsequently threatened and heckled during a speech. Although video evidence of this exists, no investigation has been launched. Since then, Kalyapin has also been subjected to harassing phone calls, some of which have included death threats.
Free speech is a universally-recognized human right, and Kalyapin must not come to harm simply for peacefully expressing his political views. Please protect him and his colleagues in accordance with their wishes. Furthermore, I urge you to investigate both the harassment Kalyapin has suffered and the actions of Ramzan Kadryov and bring each case to a just and fair conclusion.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Eric Hensley via Wikimedia Commons