The Memorial Human Rights Center* filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in defense of the Council of the Teips of the Ingush People, which was dissolved in March 2020.
Lawyer Dmitry Gurin complained to the ECHR that Article 11 (freedom of association) of the European Convention was violated because the liquidation of the Teip Council was a disproportionate response to the organization’s alleged violations of the law, according to the website of the Human Rights Center.
The Council of the Teips of the Ingush People was registered as a legal entity in 2016. It was led by Malsag Uzhakhov, one of the protest leaders convicted of extremism in December 2021. The council met periodically to discuss important and high-profile topics ranging from domestic (accidents on the roads, water supply problems, the senselessness of shootings at weddings) to human rights issues (the torture of Magomed Aushev by security forces). They sent appeals to the authorities, held meetings with residents and clergy.
«In January 2017, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit to liquidate the Council of Teips, listing about two dozen violations committed in the organization’s charter and during registration. In February, the Supreme Court of Ingushetia rejectedthe Ministry of Justice,» human rights activists say.
According to Memorial*, in 2018 the Teip Council began to demand the return of direct elections for the region’s head, actively opposed the signing of an agreement on the administrative border between Ingushetia and Chechnya, and demanded the resignation of Yunus-Beck Evkurov, the head of the republic. This was followed by an unscheduled inspection of the Council of the Teips, the suspension of its activities and a liquidation suit by the Ministry of Justice.
«On March 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ingushetia granted the claim of the Ministry of Justice. The Teip Council suggested eliminating the formal violations and completing the process of reconciliation. But the court agreed with most of the arguments of the Ministry of Justice, not supporting, however, its claim that the video message to the People’s Assembly deputies was extremist in nature(on December 13, 2018, the ‘Teip Council’ summoned deputies to a ‘Sharia court’ to find out their position in approving the border agreement with Chechnya),» Memorial stressed.*
On July 29, 2020, the Third Court of Appeals of General Jurisdiction dismissed the complaint of the Teip Council, emphasizing that the key grounds for liquidation were the distribution of an appeal by members of the organization(voiced by Murat Daskiyev), as well as calls for a boycott of the elections.
In the complaint sent to the ECtHR, it is noted that the appeal and appeals were a free expression of opinion and dissemination of information on socially important issues. Since these actions were the main reason for the liquidation, the Teip Council believes that the liquidation also violated the right to freedom of expression.
«At the same time, this interference was clearly disproportionate to the alleged violations, especially considering that the complainant voluntarily removed the disputed materials from his site,» the complaint states.
*The organization has been included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the register of NGOs performing the functions of a foreign agent.