International Circassian Council
The Human Rights Committee
February 15, 2014
Condemnation of Asker Sokht’s Arrest
The International Circassian Council condemns in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest of Circassian activist Asker Sokht in Krasnodar. Asker Sokht has spent his career building bridges and creating a sense of community between the different ethnic groups of the North Caucasus. He is a committed peace activist and president of the Adyghe Khasa in Krasnodar.
On February 15th Mr. Sokht was pulled from his car and arrested. Police left his young daughter, who was with him at the time, abandoned in the car. The arrest came after Mr. Sokht made comments criticizing Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Kozak, for reneging on his promise to feature Circassian culture in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and main venues.
The arrest of Asker Sokht by Russian authorities is a blatant attempt to stifle free speech and intimidate other activists and journalists. This is symptomatic of a wider trend of repressions by the federal authorities, which is increasingly becoming a threat to the peaceful lives of residents of the North Caucasus.
We, the Circassians supported by our non-Circassian friends alike, call on the Russian federal authorities to intervene and release Asker Sokht immediately, and begin an investigation into his arrest. Also we call on world human rights activists and organizations to condemn his unjustified and unacceptable arrest.
Every day the Russian authorities refuse but to reveal more of what is hiding of orchestrated hostile intentions against the Circassian homeland, its people and activists, where it becomes to deal with the Russian authorities represented by its security services, a nightmare that no one is able to avoid or to be safe of exposure to systematical cruelty, disregard of human rights and persistently in continuous violation to human dignity.