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Russian Police Say Attack on Rights Activist Was in 'Defense' of Chechen Leader

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Moscow police have refused to investigate an attack on a leading human rights official after claiming the assault was carried out to “protect” Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Igor Kalyapin, a member of Russia's Human Rights Council, was pelted with eggs in December 2014. He had appeared at a conference condemning Chechen authorities for their use of "mass punishment" as a weapon against armed groups.

Moscow police formally refused Kalyapin's request to press a charge of hooliganism in July 2016, but only released a report on the decision in early 2017, MediaZona reported Friday.

The document defends the man's actions as "in Kadyrov's defense." 

Kalyapin, who also heads Russia's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, has been targeted by vigilantes on several occasions. 

A group of fifteen men beat the activist close to a hotel in the Chechen capital of Grozny in March 2016, also pelting him with flour, eggs, and green disinfectant dye. 

The hotel manager later asked him to leave the establishment for his "unflattering remarks about the head of the republic,” MediaZona reported.

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