Thu, 18 Oct 2018

A detained opposition activist from Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia has started a hunger strike to protest being held for trial on charges of illegally possessing weapons and insulting an official.

Magomed Khazbiyev wrote on Facebook on March 12 that he has begun a 'dry hunger strike,' meaning he is refusing both food and water. He wrote: 'I do not have any other tools to obtain justice.'

Khazbiyev's lawyer, Khedi Ibriyeva, told the Mediazona website that Khazbiyev started the hunger strike because authorities were refusing to provide him with medical services that he needs.

Ibriyeva said a court in Ingushetia refused to transfer Khazbiyev to house arrest in January despite the fact that he suffers from a stomach hemorrhage.

Khazbiyev was detained in his native Ingushetia in January upon his arrival there from neighboring Chechnya, where he had been under the protection of the Chechen government since 2015.

Khazbiyev, a fierce critic of Ingush officials and President Vladimir Putin, maintains that he is innocent. He says the charges against him in Ingushetia are politically motivated.

Chechen authorities placed Khazbiyev under protection after unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car in February 2015 in Grozny.

Khazbiyev, a former chairman of the opposition PARNAS party's branch in Ingushetia, has faced pressure from the authorities for years.

With reporting by Mediazona

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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