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— 15 ноября 2012 г. —

Dagestani Lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova Receives Per Anger Award

On Monday, November 12, 2012, Dagestani lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova was given the Swedish Government's Per Angel Award for her outstanding contribution to the fight for human rights and democracy.

Sapiyat Magomedova (pictured) was nominated for the award by Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden) because of “her courage to stand up for other people’s rights. By taking on cases that many lawyers would reject due to security reasons and winning several of them, though it has been considered almost impossible, she has become a symbol of courage for people in her region.”

The award ceremony took place in Per Anger's hometown of Gutenberg as part of the Swedish Forum for Human Rights (MR-Dagerne), the biggest event of such kind in Northern Europe. The award ceremony was attended by the Swedish Minister of Integration Mr. Erik Ullenhag.

The Human Rights Centre “Memorial” has been working together with Sapiyat Magomedova for many years. She represents the cases of victims and their relatives on enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence. Laywers that engage with these cases are hard to find- not only in Dagestan, but in the North Caucasus as a whole.

The brave, selfless and courages woman stands up against unlawfulness in her region, defending her client's rights that were promised to them by the constitution.

Sapiyat often takes on the complicated criminal cases that may seem having no prospects of ever making it to the court. Her clients are often faced with violence and falsification of criminal cases and often get unlawfully arrested and abducted.

Great indignation was caused, when Sapiyat herself was subjected to an unfounded criminal case for allegedly offending an investigator from the prosecutor's office. In June 2010 an investigator of the Khasavyurt police department did not allow Magomedova contact with her client. In the course of the argument Sapiyat got beaten and a case was filed against the policemen. But soon the case got turned against Sapiyat herself, accusing her of insulting and assaulting the policemen. Two years later the case was closed.

Working as a lawyer in Dagestan is not without dangers. In 2010 five lawyers were beaten up, another female lawyer was harassed and threathened with sexual violence. In 2012 lawyer Umar Saidmagomedov was killed in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala. None of these incidents has ever made it to court.

“Sapiyat Magomedova has always taken a very principled stance. She does not compromise on illegal and non-procedural decisions,” said Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, a member of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” who authored a book on human rights in Dagestan. “Adherence to such principles often represent a grave danger to a lawyer, especially if the said is female and works in a legal and social environment similar to the one in Dagestan. Selfless people like Sapiyat do in that way not only protect single individuals, but they also help defend the law and order in the state as a whole.”

We sincerely congratulate our colleague Sapiyat Magomedova on her well-deserved award and hope that it will come as a sign of support and appreciation of her human rights activities in Dagestan.

The Per Anger Award was established by the Swedish government in 2004. The Swedish ambassador Per Johan Valentin Anger (1913 – 2002), was secretary of the Swedish legation in Budapest during the times of the occupation of Hungary by the Nazis, who made a big contribution to rescuing of Hungarian Jews from the deportation into concentration camps.

Previous Per Anger laureats from the former Soviet republics include Arsen Sakalov (now director of the Ingush representation of the “Legal Initiative”) who was awarded for his work in Chechnya; Ales' Belyatsky, head of the Human Right Centre “Viasna”(Belarus, 2006), and Elena Urlaevea head of the Human Rights Alliance ( Uzbekistan, 2010).

The award winners are selected by a jury that includes members of Per Anger’s family.

Coverage of the award ceremony (in Swedish, Sapiyat speaks from 23 min onwards)

Sapiyat Magomedova's interview to Civil Rights Defenders  (in Russian with English translation)

Human Rights Defender of the Month - Sapiyat Magomedova

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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