Oyub Titiev Awarded International Václav Havel Prize

This prize is awarded annually «for civic courage and outstanding achievements in defending human rights”.

Oyub Titiev Awarded International Václav Havel Prize

The ceremony is happening now in Strasbourg.

Earlier on September 6, 2018, during a court trial in Shali, Oyub’s friends and colleagues congratulated him on becoming one of the three prize nominees and gave him the official letter from the Council of Europe. The letter said that Oyub had been chosen as one of the nominees and that he would soon receive an official invitation to the event.

Let us remind you that Oyub was taken in custody in Chechnya on January 9.

He was accused of illegal large-scale drug trafficking (Part 2 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Titiev himself claimed that the criminal case was blatantly fabricated but this claim was virtually never verified although he asked state authorities to establish the policemen responsible for planting drugs into his car and press criminal charges against them. There are grounds to believe that Oyub’s persecution is nothing less than vengeance of the national government for his rights activism and an attempt to shut down “Memorial” in Chechnya.


The Václav Havel Award was established in March 2013 by the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Václav Havel Library in Prague and the Czech Charta 77 Foundation.

Its previous laureates were:

2013 – Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian human rights activist, founder of the human rights center “Viasna”. At the time of the award Ales was in prison so his wife Natalia Pinchuk received the prize on his behalf.

2014 –  Anar Mammadli, an Azerbaijani human rights defender, founder of an organization for independent election monitoring in Azerbaijan. Since at the time of the award he was in prison, his father Asaf represented him to accept the prize.

2015 – Lyudmila Alkekseeva, a veteran of the Russian human rights movement, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

2016 – Nadia Murad, an Iraqi rights defender, a survivor of genocide by ISIS (a terrorist group banned in Russia) against Yazidis.

2017 – Murat Arslan, a Turkish lawyer, and rights activist, previously a judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey, a supporter of the independence of the judiciary system. By the time of the award, he had been imprisoned for political reasons so his representative was handed the prize.


Oyub Titiev was nominated for the Václav Havel award by:

Ales Bialiatski, chairman of the human rights center “Viasna” Belarus),
Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre in Azerbaijan,

Lyudmila Alekseeva, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group,

Sergey Kovalev, chairman of the Russian Human Rights Center ” Memorial”, human rights advocate, the first Commissioner for human rights in Russia, a political prisoner of the Soviet time (1974–1984),

Heidi Hautala, vice-president of the European Parliament,

Karel Schwarzenberg, Member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, former Minister of Foreign Affair, one of Havel’s closest allies.

This nomination was supported by a number of international human rights organizations.

There are two Václav Havel awards that should not be confused with each other. One is the international Human Rights Prize for “for civic courage and outstanding achievements in defending human rights”, the other is a Prize for Creative Dissent, which was given to Petr Pavlenskiy in 2016 and taken away later.

PACE announcement of awarding Oyub Titiev

«Memorial» press office

Trabìnslated by Elena Fedyushkina

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