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June 3, 2015

Russia: Joint Mobile Group in Grozny under attack

At around 11.30am on Wednesday, 3 June 2015, an aggressive mob surrounded the office of Joint Mobile Group (JMG) in in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

JMG is one of the few human rights groups still active in Chechnya. The organisation investigates human rights abuses in the Chechen Republic and works to bring to justice perpetrators of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions. Russian human rights organisations, including the Committee Against Torture, jointly established the JMG in 2009 following the murder of human rights defender Natalya Estemirova.

At around 11.30am on Wednesday, 3 June 2015, an aggressive mob surrounded the office of Joint Mobile Group (JMG) in in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

JMG is one of the few human rights groups still active in Chechnya. The organisation investigates human rights abuses in the Chechen Republic and works to bring to justice perpetrators of torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions. Russian human rights organisations, including the Committee Against Torture, jointly established the JMG in 2009 following the murder of human rights defender Natalya Estemirova.

On 3 June, the mob gathered outside the JMG premises smashed a car belonging to JMG, which was in the courtyard, and forced their way into the office. Albert Kuznetsov and Daniil Chendemirov, both JMG staff members, managed to escape through a window.

An hour later, the attackers broke into the flat of the human rights defenders, which is located on the same floor as the office. Both the office and the flat were ransacked.

Throughout the attack, the Twitter account of the Committee Against Torture posted the following live updates:

"One hundred meters away from our office in Grozny people are going to a protest. They are heading towards our office, already in the court-yard "

"Shouts and slogans can be heard. Young masked people are smashing our car, parked in the court-yard, with sledgehammers"

"People with crow-bars broke into the house. They coloured the peephole of the office door"

"People broke into the office. They began to smash everything. The guys escaped through the window."

"Office is destroyed. Now the unknown men try to break into to the apartment of the JMG, located on the same floor with the office,using an angle grinder."

JMG, which won the Front Line Defenders Award in 2011 and the 2013 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, has long been targeted in Chechnya. Vandals set on fire the organisation's office in December 2014. The following video from the Martin Ennals Award team documents the dangers JMG faces in their work defending human rights.

 By frontlinedefenders.org

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