People in Need  Human rights  Russia  Homo Homini prize to go to Dagestan lawyer Sapijat Magomedova

Homo Homini prize to go to Dagestan lawyer Sapijat Magomedova

Foto: Civil Rights Defenders

Prague, 18th February 2014 - The 2013 Homo Homini human rights award will go to a young Dagestani lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova for her courage in the defense of victims of human rights violations. As usual, the prize will be given at the opening of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival to be held in the Prague Crossroads on March 3rd.

 

"Years ago, Sapijat Magomedova, a young woman lawyer from a very complicated environment on the borderline of Dagestan and Chechnya, decided that she could no longer passively watch the arbitrariness and violence committed on civilians by a variety of armed forces. She fights against illegal detention, beating and imprisonment and actively takes the risk in the cases of unexplained murders, probably committed by the local force groups," People in Need Managing Director Simon Panek said. The Board of Directors and the Executive Management of People in Need have decided to award the Homo Homini to Sapijat Magomedova for her great personal courage and sticking to her high principles with which she faces violence, personal threats and other real dangers that she exposes herself to in her job.

Sapijat Magomedova (35) represents clients in very sensitive cases that other lawyers refuse, as they fear for their safety. Four years ago, the police attacked her when she wanted to visit a client. The attack has not yet been investigated.

"The Dagestani and Russian media increasingly mentioned ‘death squads’ that with the tacit agreement of state structures take law into their hands. The security bodies then publish press releases writing about the elimination of probable rebels. This means that not even they themselves are sure," Magomedova said. "At first, they kill someone and only later they try to find out who the man was. However, even in the Russia Federation, there is no law allowing the killing of a man without investigation and trial," added the activist, who has been continually defending these arbitrary cases committed by the Dagestan security bodies.

Magomedova also represents victims of sexual violence, which is still a taboo affair in the region where bridal kidnapping and child marriages still occur. She managed to pass some cases on to the European Court of Human Rights, as well as make public comments on the human rights violations in Dagestan.

The Homo Homini will be awarded, as tradition dictates, at the opening of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival located at the Prague Crossroads Culture Centre on March 3rd. The gala night will start at 7 p.m., and will also feature the Economist’s editor Edward Lucas, who consistently reports on the situation in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Dagestan is considered the most restless area of North Caucasus with day-to-day confrontations of Islamist militants with the state security forces. There are a numerous unexplained kidnappings and murders, as well as high number of incidences of torture. However, such human rights violations, for which the state armed forces are blamed, remain unsolved and unexplained. Therefore, the police officers and other representatives of the local force groups are becoming a frequent target of the Islamist militants.

People in Need has been bestowing the award annually on personalities who have greatly contributed to the promotion of human rights and democracy and nonviolent solutions to political conflicts since the year 1994. The former Homo Homini laureates are: lawyer Intigam Aliyev from Azerbaijan, human rights defender of the unjustly persecuted, Azimzan Askarov from Kyrgyzstan, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (the later Nobel Peace Prize laureate), Iranian students Majid Tavakoli and Abdullah Momeni, and Belarusian dissident Ales Bjaljacki. Due to political reasons, a number of them unfortunately remain behind bars in their home countries.

Further information:

Adela Pospichalova, Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, People in Need

Phone: 777 787 968

adela.pospichalova@clovekvtisni.cz

 

Autor: AP

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