The head of Russia’s Memorial human rights group in the Republic of Dagestan has been attacked in what appears to be a continuing intimidation campaign against activists.
Authorities in the neighboring Chechen Republic have been holding Oyub Titiyev, the head of the local Memorial branch, on drug charges since January. Later that month, arsonists torched Memorial’s office in Ingushetia, another North Caucasus republic, as well as the group’s service car in Dagestan.
Yekaterina Sokirianskaia, the Russia-based project director of the International Crisis Group, announced that Memorial’s director in Dagestan Sirazhutdin Datsiev has been hospitalized after being beaten on Monday.
“Unidentified perpetrators attacked him near his home in Makhachkala, beat up brutally and left lying on the ground,” she tweeted on Tuesday.
Photographs shared by Sokirianskaia showed Datsiev with several bruises on the side of his face and forehead.
Memorial board chairman Oleg Orlov cited a witness as saying that she saw the attacker attacking Datsiev with an unidentified subject after stepping out of a car, the BBC Russia Service reported.
“He was struck on the head from behind. They knocked him out and continued beating him across other parts of his body,” Memorial lawyer Murad Magomedov told the Kavkaz-Uzel news website.