According to the figures of the Republican Prosecutor’s Office, as of April 1, 2006, 1,949 criminal cases have been opened into abductions of people since the start of the counterterrorism operation. Of them 31 cases have been closed and 1,679 cases have been suspended due to failure to identify the persons involved in the abductions. According to the CR MVD, out of the mentioned number of people who were abducted and missing 190 persons have been put on the federal list of missing people from 2000 to 2005 and only two persons were found (figures from the report by Human Rights Ombudsman in the Chechen Republic Nurdi Nukhazhiyev).
The perpetrators are very rarely punished. Only two instances have been registered where cases against commissioned officers of the Russian armed forces who committed crimes against civilians were completed and those guilty of violence sentenced to serve meaningful terms in prison.
The first such case is the case of Colonel Budanov, who abducted and strangled young Chechen girl Elza (Kheda) Kungayeva. It became widely known thanks to the energetic efforts by the lawyer of the victim party Abdula Khamzayev.
The second case is the case of police commissioned officer S.V. Lapin, who in 2005, was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on charges of exceeding his authority and forgery by an official. It was established that he had brutally beaten local resident Zelimkhan Murdalov and had not executed the investigator’s resolution to release him. Z. Murdalov disappeared and his fate still remains unknown. Lapin’s accomplices have not been convicted either.
The case of Captain Ulman, who killed five Chechens knowing in advance that they were civilians, is still dragging on.
Abductions and killings continued in 2005-2006. As of the end of June, staff of Memorial HRC have registered 125 incidents of abduction of people, of which 63 persons were released or ransomed by relatives, 45 gone missing, eight found dead, and nine are currently under investigation.
During the first six months of 2006, according to the figures of Memorial HRC, 47 people were killed in the Chechen Republic, including 18 civilians, 11 officers from security agencies, and eight members of armed Chechen groups. Ten people were not identified and buried as unknown.
In the last two years the authorities have succeeded in the so-called “Chechenization” of the conflict: security agencies staffed with local residents have been set up, to which a significant block of powers to carry out illegal violence was transferred.
Following the death of Akhmad Kadyrov on May 9, 2004, the presidential security service, which consisted of ethnic Chechens and was under the command of Ramzan Kadyrov, was dissolved. The Second Police Patrol and Point Duty Service Regiment (PPSM-2) and Neftepolk [oil regiment] were formed, staffed with officers from the former security service. Both units are nominally parts of the Interior Ministry (MVD). The task of PPSM-2 is to ensure law and order in public places, while Neftepolk’s mission is to guard oil installations and other industrial facilities. They are not tasked with combating terrorism; however, both regiments participate in detentions of people and are used in operations targeting illegal armed groups.
In 2005, the so-called “Anti-Terror Center” (ATC) was launched, which does not belong to any of the officially existing security agencies under the command of Ramzan Kadyrov.
Also active in Chechnya are Vostok [East] and Zapad [West] battalions, which are staffed with Chechens and are part of the RF Ministry of Defense’s 42nd Motorized Infantry Division. In addition to ethnic Chechens, they have a certain portion of soldiers redeployed from other regions of Russia.
All these and other smaller armed units have been fighting turf wars for their place in the overall power structure of Chechnya.
Servicemen from Vostok battalion, led by Sulim Yamadayev, have been involved in abductions of people. The most high-profile incident, described in Chapter II, was a pogrom in the village of Borozdinovskaya on June 4, 2005, and abduction of 11 of its residents.
Troops from Zapad battalion, led by Sayid-Magomed Kakiyev, are suspected of abduction of people as well: on April 9, 2006, an identification tag of a soldier from that battalion was found at the scene of kidnapping of A. Israilov and B. Chilayev, employee of Civic Assistance Committee.
Sometimes local and federal security agencies carry out zachistkas [mop-up operations] jointly, sometimes they do them separately. As a rule, the Russian laws and military regulations for conducting such special operations are not observed in carrying out zachistkas. Armed people who enter the homes virtually never introduce themselves or say what agency they belong to. The faces of the people who carry out zachistkas, are often hidden behind the masks and, as a rule, they use vehicles without license plates.
People who find themselves in the hands of officers from such organizations “disappear” for the outside world. They are held in illegal prisons for several days and are not officially registered as detained or arrested persons. The abducted people are tortured to coerce “confessionary” statements, which are subsequently used to trump up criminal cases. Upon receipt of the required information, they are “dumped” near adjacent villages or returned to relatives for ransom. Before their release people are warned to keep silent, lest they be detained again. Approximately half of the abductees disappear without a trace. Officially the arrests or detentions are registered only at the moment when the captured persons are handed over to FSB or MVD agencies.
After the speech made by the Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov in the State Duma on October 20, 2004, in which he suggested that “counter-hostage taking” and “summary justice” be applied to terrorists, security agencies officers went to even greater extremes.
Everyone whose relative, even a distant one, has been or is a member of an illegal armed group is living under the threat of abduction and extrajudicial killing.
There are instances of physical elimination of entire families. Local residents believe that a secret directive exists to eliminate relatives of IAG fighters.
On October 18, 2005, in the village of Pobedinskoye in the Grozny Rural District of the CR, armed people abducted from home and killed the father and son Arsanakayevs: Salman, aged 65, and Khamzat, aged 22.
The people who abducted the Arsanakayevs arrived to the village at around one in the morning by two UAZ jeeps. They were all masked and wearing camouflage uniforms. According to witnesses, the abductors spoke Chechen. The neighbors heard a cross talk between Salman Arsanakayev and those people. On the same day, at night, dead bodies of the Arsanakayevs were discovered near the First Molsovkhoz (diary state farm) in a pit; they were shot dead with firearms.
On the following day, a funeral was held in the village of Pobedinskoye of the victims of the extrajudicial killing. In addition to relatives and friends, the Arsanakayevs’ funeral was attended by a large number of villagers, who were angered by the murder of innocent people. The villagers knew that Salman Arsanakayev and his son Khamzat were peaceful citizens. Shortly before that incident, on October 2, in the Ivanova Settlement in the city of Grozny, another member of the Arsanakayev family was killed during detention: Supian Salmanovich Arsanakayev (a participant in the armed resistance to the federal forces, who in some reports figured as Arsanukayev). Simultaneously, his relatives were also detained, whose fate still remains unknown.
Even before that Selim Salmanovich Arsanakayev was detained and subsequently killed. He was detained on suspicion of the killing of the head of the Nadterechny District and shot dead, supposedly, when he tried to escape.
Harassment of relatives of IAG fighters does not cease even after the militants are killed – it looks like an act of vengeance. Appendix 12 details the circumstances of the abduction of Roman Musayev and gives his account of torture he was subjected to. Fortunately, he managed to escape.
Sometimes an entire family is brutally harassed because a member of the family left home and has not been heard from since then. See Appendix 13 for details of how Zara Shamsutdinova’s family has suffered many years of persecution.
In April this year, everyone was shocked by a brutal slaughter of members of the Umayev family from the village of Sayasan. Officers from Russian security agencies abducted two Umayev brothers, Anzor and Ilman, Ilman’s wife and his father Yeisa. The brothers were killed right away; their bodies were found later in the day. Ilman’s wife was released late at night, while Yeisa Adizoich Umayev was kept for another 24 hours. Furthermore, the relatives were requested to bury Ilman and Anzor Umayev outside the cemetery and without the traditional funeral ritual, lest Yeisa be killed. The murder of the brothers was passed off as a victory over members of an IAG, for which the killed men were dressed in camouflage uniforms and the scene was videotaped (see Appendix 14).
Capture of family members as hostages is also applied against officers from security agencies who fall under suspicion.
In the small hours of April 15, 2006, in the city of Gudermes, officers from the ATC abducted the families of two Ilmiyev brothers, natives of Argun. One of the brothers, Bislan Ilmiyev, was until recently on the staff of the ATC. On April 12, he, supposedly, participated in a special operation conducted on the territory of Ingushetia to apprehend a member of “an illegal armed group.” According to the information available to us, the detained militant pointed at Bislan Ilmiyev as his brother-in-arms. Bislan assured the other participants in the special operation that his superiors in Gudermes were aware of his past. Then he drove his car in an unknown direction, taking his weapons with him. He has not been seen of since then. The ATC officers took away his wife, Imani, with one-year-old son Amin, as well as his brothers: Supian Ilmiyev with wife Madina and Ruslan Ilmiyev with his wife Roza, daughter Rayana, aged four, and one-year-old son Mansur. His mother Nura, a lecturer at the oil institute, was also kidnapped. The ATC officers said that they would release the hostages only after Bislan gives himself up.
The ultimatum was passed through Ruslan Ilmiyev, who was released in the morning of April 15, to find his brother. Unfortunately, we have failed to learn the end of the story or whether the hostages were released.
Former officers from local security agencies who quit their jobs also fall under suspicion with their former colleagues and are in danger of being harassed or killed.
On February 8, 2006, in the village of Samashki, the Achkhoi-Martan District of the CR, officers from a republican security agency abducted a local resident Anzor Salavdinovich Arsimikov (born 1980).
In the afternoon, two cars (an UAZ jeep and a VAZ-2107 car) with armed men in camouflage uniforms arrived at the Arsimikov family home. The men ran into the house, grabbed Anzor and without any explanations drove him away in an unknown direction.
Until summer 2005, Aslan was an officer at the Achkhoi-Martan ROVD. After the killing of the deputy head of the Achkhoi-Martan ROVD, he left the police force. Apparently, his former colleagues took his discharge as grounds for suspicion and immediately detained Arsimikov. On that occasion he was held in custody for a week at the Achkhoi-Martan ROVD, but then was released.
After that Anzor left the Republic. In January 2006, he returned home and in February was abducted again. His relatives have managed to find out that Arsimikov is being kept at the Achkhoi-Martan ROVD.
On February 26, 2006, in an open pit on the outskirts of the stanitsa of Petropavlovskaya, the Grozny Rural District, children who were grazing cattle discovered a dead body of a man, whose hands were tied with a belt.
On February 27, at the Grozny Rural District OVD the dead man was identified by relatives. He proved to be a resident of the village of Starye Atagi Ibragim Changayevich Sangariyev (born 1979).
The expert's preliminary conclusion suggested that the man was killed up to ten days earlier. According to Turko, Ibragim’s cousin, during the ablution eight bullet holes were discovered on his body, one of which was on the back of the head. Burn marks were found on the victim’s back and hands. On January 30, 2006, Ibragim Sangariyev was abducted from his home in Starye Atagi. He was taken by unknown armed men, up to nine in number, who wore masks and camouflage uniforms. At around 10:30 p.m., they burst into the Sangariyev family home, grabbed Ibragim and drove him away in an unknown direction. During the abduction they beat up his wife and his sister. Three of the abductors, according to the Sangariyevs, spoke Chechen. Ibragim Sangariyev was disabled from childhood; he had trouble moving his hand. Until 2002, he lived as a refugee in the Republic of Ingushetia. In 2005, Sangariyev joined the ATC. He quit his job three months later because he had not been given weapons and paid salary.
Mass abductions of people are used as a punitive measure in response to attacks on officers from law-enforcement agencies.
In early September 2005, police officer Mitsiyev was killed on the outskirts of the village of Novye Atagi. On September 14, at dawn, six villagers were kidnapped from their homes. For four days in a row the villagers were gathering for a picket, blocking the road and demanding the return of the abductees. On September 18, one of them returned home, badly beaten. As for the other five men, it became known that they were charged with killing of the policeman (Appendix 15).
Officers from security agencies did not content themselves with the results of the operation that was conducted. During the Friday prayer a large group of armed people arrived at a mosque of the village of Novye Atagi. Their leader Alambek Yasuyev, commander of the PPSM-2 Regiment, said addressing the crowd of local residents that his men and he would use the same methods in the future. He also threatened those who were blocking the highway in response to the detention of their fellow villagers.
Investigation into the criminal case of illegal confinement is still underway; no one has been held accountable.
Officers from security agencies abduct and subject to torture even teenagers, pressing ridiculous charges against them.
A series of such abductions took place in September 2005. All teenagers were beaten to make them confess to keeping of weapons. 14-year-old Saikhan Mukayev was abducted by mistake: he was not asked his name. The abductors brutally beat him up and pushed him out of the car far from his house. Appendix 16 details the circumstances of the abductions of teenagers.
One incident came onto our radar screen, which shows that “Chechen-hunting” is a kind of “hobby” for some Russian servicemen. On that particular occasion the victim of the abduction, Bai-Ali Dovletmurzayev, luckily, stayed alive and could tell his story.
On November 5, 2005, a resident of Prigorodny Goskhoz [state farm] Bai-Ali Dovletmurzayev was abducted by unknown men at the Michurina Settlement in the city of Grozny.
On that day, at around 6:00 p.m., Dovletmurzayev left the republican hospital, located in the Michurina Settlement. When he was walking down Khankalskaya Street and passing a UAZ-469 jeep, parked at the side of the road, he was sprayed with something in the face and pushed into the car. Bai-Ali lost consciousness and when he came to, he realized that he was lying on the floor of a vehicle, with someone sitting on top of him. During the ride, he lost consciousness several times, but every time he came to, the unknown people were starting beating him. Then he was dragged out of the car, thrown to the ground and beaten up again. The abductors spoke Russian. A female voice urged, “Shoot him.” A male voice countered: “Why? He will die anyway in this pit. One Chechen less. He is my 101st.”
Then Bai-Ali was thrown into a deep condensate pit. He lost consciousness. Only 24 hours later he managed to get out of the pit — he was helped by a shepherd, who called people to help. The pit is located on a wasteland near the village of Khankala and usually only the military drive across it. Bai-Ali filed an application with the police; however, no investigation has been undertaken.
After the incident relatives of missing people started going to that wasteland in the hope of finding at least the dead body of a relative.
Officers from local security agencies harass and kidnap members of the families which received compensations, extorting money from them.
On January 20, 2006, in the city of Grozny officers from an unidentified security agency abducted a local resident Mussa Bosovich Dikayev. According to his sister Zulai, officers from security agencies numbering up to nine people arrived at the home by two vehicles. They searched the yard and the house and asked whether there were any other males in the house, except for Mussa. Having received a negative answer, they said that they were taking Mussa with them to ask him a few questions and release immediately after that. The military took Mussa Dikayev; they also took away his mobile and Zulai’s telephone. Mussa did not return home.
On the following day, at 1 p.m., two men arrived at Dikayev’s home by a VAZ-21010 car. The handed over the documents for Dikayev’s company car and said that Mussa was at the Staropromyslovsky District ROVD. The men asked the Dikayevs whether their house was for sale and wondered how much the home should be roughly worth.
On January 25, people in camouflage uniforms arrived by a gray VAZ car (registration number 091, Region 95) at the home of Mussa Dikayev’s another sister, who lives in Grozny. They started threatening that they were going to dishonor Mussa’s daughters and kidnap his son. Having voiced their threats, the unknown men drove away.
On January 27, Zulai Dikayeva applied to the reception office of Memorial HRC in Nazran. From her application it follows that it was not the first time Mussa Dikayev was harassed. Earlier, unknown men wearing masks and camouflage uniforms abducted Mussa from his home on December 17, 2004. On December 24, 2004, badly beaten and unconscious, he was pushed out of a car near his house. Approximately two months later, Mussa was again kidnapped by unknown armed men and released again after beatings.
When Mussa was released, Zulai asked him what they wanted from him. He said they demanded money and were pressuring him to sell his house, threatening that otherwise they would kidnap his children and humiliate them before his eyes. Zulai Dikayeva claims that it all started after their family received a compensation for lost housing.
A short time ago, a criminal group was uncovered, consisting of former officers from the MVD of Chechnya and the republican Anti-Terror Center, that was involved in gangsterism and robberies. Their victims were mostly citizens who received compensations for housing and property lost during the hostilities. This information was conveyed to the Caucasian Knot Web-site’s correspondent by a Chechen police officer.
Investigations and arrests in this case have been carried out since 2004. It has been established that initially this organized crime group was led by a serviceman of the PPS regiment Umar Chapanov and in January 2004 he was replaced by an officer from the republican ATC Ismayil Abuyazidov.
In April 2006, the Republican Prosecutor’s Office passed on the criminal case against 17 former officers from the ATC and the MVD of Chechnya PPS regiment to the Supreme Court.
In the period when they were committing crimes, the defendants served in law-enforcement agencies and used their positions to carry out extortions and robberies, using their government-issue weapons. If they are convicted, each of them will face up to 20 years in prison.
Following the attack of militants on Nazran and Karabulak in summer 2004, the seizure of school in Beslan in September 2004, and the developments in Nalchik on October 13-14, 2005, the practice of “disappearing” people started to spread into the territories adjacent to Chechnya – first to Ingushetia and then to North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan.
The level of violence and arbitrary rule seen in the Republic of Ingushetia is approaching the level of lawlessness in Chechnya.
On December 7, 2005, at around 3:00 p.m., between the villages of Nizhniy Chalky and Novy Redant, the Malgobek District of Ingushetia, officers from an unidentified security agency, who arrived from Chechnya, abducted a resident of the village of Nizhniye Achaluki Ali Suleimanovich Kostoyev (born 1963).
On that day, Kostoyev and his wife took their sick child to the Central Republican Hospital in the city of Nazran to have him examined by the doctor. The doctor was not there when they came and they went to see their relatives. At that moment, Kostoyev’s friend, who was a Chechen, called him on his mobile and asked Ali for a meeting. Kostoyev drove his car in the direction of the village of Novy Redant to meet him. They met on the outskirts of the village near the building of a training and production center.
The Chechen got into Kostoyev’s car. A few minutes later the car was blocked by a large group of armed men dressed in black military uniforms. They drove up in two white Gazel vans and a VAZ-21099 car. The troops shot at a front wheel of Kostoyev’s car to block it. The Chechen who sat in the car ran to escape, but was captured. Kostoyev, who did not make any attempt to run, was pulled out of the car and driven away. The car convoy with the abductors sped away in the direction of Chechnya.
When passing the DPS (Traffic Police Service) traffic control post “Orsha-47,” they did not obey the orders of police officers and did not pull over. Officers stationed at the next Ingush post “Orsha-46,” located on the Malgobek – Grozny highway near the village of Aki-Yurt, were alerted to the approaching motorcade with suspicious men. The police officers blocked the road with a gate.
At 3:30 p.m., two Gazel vans and a VAZ-21099 car with armed men arrived at the post. At that time, a KamAZ truck was standing before the road gate. The cars with the unknown men stopped. A man in civvies and a commissioned officer’s astrakhan hat got out of the car. He ordered the KamAZ’ driver to move the truck from the road. The DPS officer approached him and requested to get registered at the post. The unknown man showed the police officer a folder which he said contained necessary instructions providing for unobstructed passage, however, he did not show any documents. The policeman said that he would not let them pass through without getting registered. The stranger said that he would pass through anyway and ordered one of his men to open the road gate. A policeman on duty at the gate stood in his way. The stranger in civvies, who was apparently the leader of the team, ordered his men to take positions.
Three dozen of armed men jumped out of the Gazel vans and dispersed, after which they took aim at the Ingush police officers. Three Ingush policemen, who were on duty at the road gate, also got their weapons ready to fire. The strangers again tried to open the road gate. A scuffle ensued, accompanied with random fire shots. Eventually, the Ingush police officers, having sustained serious bodily injuries, were pushed away from the gate. The unknown men got into their vehicles, broke the gate and speed away into the territory of Chechnya.
The DPS officers Belkharoyev, Getagazov and Daskiev were hospitalized in the Central District Hospital No.1 in the town of Malgobek with different bodily injuries. The Malgobek Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation into the abduction of Kostoyev and the assault on policemen.
Audacity of the criminals, who are sure of their impunity, has gone so far as to kidnap a relative of Ingushetia’s President.
On February 27, 2006, at around 6:00 p.m., official car of a Deputy of the People's Assembly Magomed Chakhkiyev, who is the father-in-law of the RI President Murat Zyazikov, was shot at near a stadium in the city of Nazran. As a result of the shooting attack, the car went out of control and crashed into the road barrier. The attackers pulled the driver out of the car and beat him until he became unconscious.
The criminals forced Magomed Chakhkiyev into their car and sped away. According to witnesses, that car was escorted by another two cars – dark colored VAZ-2109 and VAZ-2106. Chakhkiyev’s driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Abduction of the 71-year-old elderly man stirred the entire Ingushetia. People were angered: “The Ingush have never had such laws – to abuse the elderly.”
On May 1, Magomed Chakhkiyev was released. Informed sources in law-enforcement agencies of Ingushetia believe that the abductors were paid a large ransom. If this was the case, then the authorities have once again showed their impotence in combating terror.
On July 4, 2006, the Caucasian Knot Web-site posted a report about a commission been set up at the parliament of Ingushetia to investigate the violations of citizens’ rights and search the missing citizens. In addition to Deputies of the People's Assembly and representatives of executive authorities, it also included members of the human rights organizations of Memorial HRC in Nazran, the independent non-commercial organization Mashr and the non-governmental organization Vesta.
According to the Ingush independent non-commercial organization Mashr, in the period since 2001 to date, about 150 people have been put on the list of those kidnapped or gone missing on the territory of the Republic.
At the present time, one of the main tasks of the commission is to verify the information about the existence of a mass grave in the village of Vesyoloye, the Mozdok District in North Ossetia, where the dead body of a resident of Ingushetia Uvais Dolakov, who had been abducted in the city of Nazran, was discovered earlier (see Appendix 17).
Sometimes abduction of an unarmed person is carried out like a combat operation, with completely unjustified brutality.
On November 14, 2005, in the city of Nazran, near the district hospital, officers from an unidentified Russian security agency abducted a resident of the village of Nasyr-Kort Issa Mukharbekovich Ozdoyev (born 1980).
Since August 11, 2005, Issa Ozdoyev had been undergoing treatment in the tuberculosis clinic at the district hospital. At the moment of the abduction he was outside the premises of the hospital, buying some staff in the nearest food kiosk. Suddenly several cars pulled up near Ozdoyev and armed men ran out and grabbed him. Several shots were fired at him in the process, which resulted in a serious wound.
It emerged later that the abducted Ozdoyev was taken to the city of Vladikavkaz and hospitalized in an intensive care unit of the central clinical hospital.
On November 17, Ozdoyev’s relatives got a call from Vladikavkaz; they were informed that Issa died at the hospital and were prompted to take his dead body.
No explanations or apologies were offered to the relatives. The abductors and murderers of Issa Ozdoyev remain unknown.
Abducted residents of Ingushetia are increasingly often subsequently found in the SIZO of the city of Vladikavkaz, where required confessions are beaten out of them.
Appendix 18 details the circumstances of the detention and confinement in SIZO of M.I. Dzortov, who under torture signed a confession of involvement in the attack on Nazran and Karabulak on June 22, 2004.
Below is another story of a man who was abducted in Nalchik, but was also taken to Vladikavkaz, to investigators Krivorotov and Solzhenitsyn, who are “experts” in beating out confessions.
On March 27, 2006, the former resident of Chechnya Aiub Zhamilovich Tasuyev came to the office of Memorial HRC in Nazran with a written application. It follows from his application that on January 7, 2005, at 10:30 a.m., his son, Dzhambulat Aiubovich Tasuyev (born 1985), was abducted in the city of Nalchik by unknown armed men. He was taken away from the apartment where their family temporarily lived.
Several armed men wearing masks and numbering up to 12 people burst into the apartment. Without introducing themselves or explaining the reasons for their visit, they took Dzhambulat and drove him away in an unknown direction.
For four days relatives had no information about Dzhambulat’s fate. Their petitions to all law-enforcement agencies of Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia and Ingushetia did not yield any results.
Four days later Aiub Tasuyev got a call from a woman, Laura Khumaryants, who introduced herself as lawyer for his son. She said that Dzhambulat was kept in the Vladikavkaz SIZO and was interrogated by an investigation team of the North Caucasus Prosecutor General’s Office, led by Krivorotov.
Dzhambulat was faced with several charges, including participation in the armed attack on Ingushetia in June 2004. During interrogations, D. Tasuyev was brutally beaten and tortured. Nevertheless, he did not sign any confessionary statements.
The Tasuyev case was pursued by the investigator of the prosecutor’s office Solzhenitsyn, who continued to insist that Dzhambulat was a member of an IAG. According to Aiub Tasuyev, the investigation team had no evidence to substantiate the charge.
Recently the Tasuyev case has been passed on to Ingushetia’s court. He is being held at the IVS (temporary detention center) in the city of Nazran. Dzhambulat’s condition raises serious concerns: his lungs are filling with liquid; several times medical emergency team was called in. The doctors recommended urgent hospitalization for Tasuyev, however, the leadership of the IVS refuses to do so. Protests of his new lawyer, Sharip Tepsayev, who was hired by relatives, and his petitions for urgent hospitalization are being ignored. The leadership of the IVS refers to a ban issued directly by the Minister of the RI MVD Khamkhoyev.
In this bad condition Dzhambulat was twice convoyed to the city of Pyatigorsk, where he did not get any appropriate medical assistance either.
In his application Aiub Tasuyev asks to intervene into the situation and protect the rights of his son, who needs urgent medical treatment in hospital conditions. The father is confident that his son is innocent and is sure this will be proved in court.
The practice continues of harassments and killings of citizens who file complaints with the European Court of Human Rights. Criminal cases on trumped-up charges are opened against such applicants.
On January 15-16, 2005, the village of Zumsoi, the Itum-Kale District of Chechnya, which is located high in the mountains, was subjected to missile and bomb strikes. After that helicopter-borne troops were landed in the village. The servicemen illegally detained Vakha Mukhayev, his sixteen-year-old son Atabi Mukhayev and another two male villagers, Shakhran Nasipov and Magomed-Emin Ibishev. The detained men were put into the helicopters and flown away; the promise was given to return them at night. However, all the four men disappeared and their whereabouts still remain unknown.
In August 2005, the Mukhayev family, with a legal support from Memorial HRC, filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. The complaint has been registered and will be considered as a matter of priority under Article 41.
On the night of December 29 – December 30, 2005, in the village of Gikalo, the Grozny Rural District, abducted and driven away in an unknown direction was Mekhti Makhmudovich Mukhayev (born 1958), a resident of the village of Zumsoi, the brother of Vakhi Mukhayev, who was abducted in January 2005.
Mekhti Mukhayev was abducted from the home of his cousin, Ilias Agashev. Mekhti came to his place on the eve of the Kurban Bayram religious holiday to sell his cattle.
Around one in the morning, two UAZ jeeps arrived at Agashev’s home. Officers from an unidentified security agency wearing camouflage uniforms and masks burst into the house. Pointing a submachine gun at Agashev, they asked, “Where’s Mekhti?” and started to search the rooms. Having found Mekhti, they dragged him down from the bed, made him lie face down on the floor, put handcuffs on him, led him into the street, barefoot and in his underwear, and drove him away in an unknown direction.
On the following day, December 31, his relatives learned through unofficial channels that on the same night Mukhayev was driven to the Urus-Martan District, where the judge of the Urus-Martan District Court sentenced him to 15 days of administrative arrest for “disorderly conduct.”
After that the detained man was taken to the Itum-Kale ROVD, where he was kept for 24 hours and then handed over to the district department of the Shatoi District FSB. Relatives petitioned to the prosecutor’s offices, however, officials there told them they were not aware of Mukhayev’s detention.
On January 16, the prosecutor informed relatives that on January 11, at 1:00 p.m., Mekhti “was transferred to the Central Prosecutor’s Office of the city of Grozny.”
However, on January 17, staff of Memorial HRC found out that on January 13, Mukhayev was transferred to the ORB-2, the Investigations and Law-Enforcement Operations Bureau of the North Caucasus Operational Directorate of the RF MVD Chief Directorate in the South Federal District. Citizens are held at the ORB-2, who are detained on suspicion of committing crimes under Article 209, Part 2, of the RF Criminal Code (participation in a gang).
On January 18, Mukhayev was transferred to SIZO and on January 20, his lawyer, a member of Memorial HRC, was granted access to him.
It emerged that officially the detention of Mekhti Mukhayev was documented as starting only since January 13, 2006, while in fact he was forcefully driven away from home on the night of December 29 – December 30, 2005. Before that, Mukhayev was held at the Shatoi District ROVD in connection with the administrative crime he supposedly committed. Mekhti Mukhayev told his lawyer about how he was tortured and interrogated (Appendix 19).
The case files suggest that Mukhayev was detained on a testimony given by a certain Gamayev, who pointed at Mukhayev as a member of an armed group. Memorial’s lawyer was present during one of the interrogations of Gamayev and saw that Gamayev had been so badly beaten and tortured that he could not independently stand on his own feet.
On January 19, Gamayev was placed into one cell with Mukhayev. Mukhayev claimed that Gamayev was crying and asking his forgiveness for having incriminated him under torture. Gamayev’s brother met Mukhayev’s relatives and offered his apologies for his brother having been forced under torture to incriminate an innocent person.
On February 2, 2006, Issa Gamayev filed an application with Memorial HRC, in which he detailed the tortures and humiliations he had been subjected to in the city of Nalchik and at the Khankala Russian military base (Appendix 19).
On February 8, Mekhti Mukhayev was charged under Article 209 of the RF Criminal Code “banditism,” which provides for 8 to 15 years imprisonment.
On March 10, 2006, at about 6:00 a.m., in the village of Ushkaloi, the Itum-Kale District, officers from the district OVD detained the sister of Mekhti Mukhayev, Koka Makhmudovna Azimova, aged 55.
Koka was taken away from the home of her mother, whom she was visiting. She herself lives in the city of Grozny, in Koltsova 4 TAP.
At the ROVD Koka was held for about three hours in a corridor and then driven to the village of Vashindoroi, the Shatoi District, to the area where a unit of the Neftepolk [Oil Regiment] was deployed. For another several hours Azimova was kept in a car. After noon, she was taken to a tent and interrogated: she was asked about links with the militants and prodded for information about the killing of the head of the village of Zumsoi administration Abdul-Azim Yangulbayev (killed by unknown men on July 4, 2005).
At around 10.00 p.m., Azimova was driven to the village of Ushkaloi to her mother’s home and released. She fell ill as a result of a nervous breakdown and because she had been kept in the cold for a whole day.
Earlier, on July 28, 2005, at Koltsova 4 TAP, detention was carried out with violations of the law of Koka Azimova’s son, Ilias Ziyadinovich Azimov (born 1985). Later on the same day, he was released from the Itum-Kale District OVD. According to Ilias, he was beaten during the detention after handcuffs were put on him. The people who carried out the detention were calling him a “Wahhabi” and accusing him of being an accomplice to the murder of Yangulbayev.
In harassing members of families of people who apply to the European Court of Human Rights officers from security agencies think nothing of killing. In the incident detailed below the killed man was passed off as an active member of illegal armed groups.
On January 27, 2006, Aslambek Akhoyevich Khatuyev, a resident of Chechnya, was killed in the town of Karabulak, the Republic of Ingushetia, in Yug-Agrosnab CAP during a special operation conducted by officers from federal security agencies.
Aslambek Khatuyev was the brother of Sultan Khatuyev, who was abducted by FSB officers in 2004 in Ingushetia and “disappeared” later. On June 28, 2005, complaint by relatives of S. Khatuyev was forwarded to the European Court of Human Rights.
The details of this harsh special operation to eliminate Khatuyev, which was conducted for five to six hours and accompanied with pogroms in the homes and looting, are presented in Chapter III and Appendix 7.
Recently we have seen the increase in abductions of members of non-governmental organizations.
The head of the organization Let’s Save the Generation Murad Muradov and a member of this organization Ismayil Kadayev were abducted on April 15, 2005, by officers from an unidentified security agency when a special operation was conducted in the Ippodromny Micro-District of the city of Grozny.
No security agency claimed responsibility for their abduction. Muradov and Kadayev were reported missing. At the same time the republican prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case against Murad Muradov charging him with involvement in terrorist activities. Office appliances and documents of Let’s Save the Generation organization were seized on those grounds.
In the end of February 2006, relatives of Muradov and Kadayev were informed that they could take the bodies of their family members. The permit issued by the CR Prosecutor’s Office to release the dead body of Muradov reads that, “According to the information obtained from the RF UFSB for the CR, there are no compromising materials against M.Kh. Muradov, including about his involvement in IAGs. There is no evidence, under the Federal Law No. 1340 of July 25, 1998 “On Combating Terrorism,” that would implicate M.Kh. Muradov in committing crimes of a terrorist nature” (Appendix 20).
On March 1, 2006, relatives of Murad Muradov and Ismayil Kadayev brought the dead bodies of their family members from Mozdok. The dead bodies were charred and mutilated beyond recognition. On March 3, relatives buried the bodies they were given, without being sure if they were actually burying their family members.
In this way, the official agencies which detained two young and healthy men, Muradov and Kadayev, after establishing their innocence, return to relatives their dead bodies, mutilated beyond recognition, without offering any explanations.
On April 9, 2006, at around 12:00 p.m., at the intersection on the Sernovodsk-Assinovskaya “Caucasus” federal highway, unknown people abducted Aslan Israilov and Bulat Chilayev.
Bulat Sultanovich Chilayev (born 1979), lives in the town of Sernovodsk and works at the human rights organization Civic Assistance Committee in the program of medical assistance for sick people from Chechnya.
Aslan Israilov, a resident of Grozny, was visiting his grandfather, Adrakhman Dzhabayev, neighbor of Bulat Chilayev, in his home town of Sernovodsk.
In the morning of April 9, in Sernovodsk, a special operation was conducted, during which A. Israilov attracted attention because he was not a local. He was released, however, after a check.
After the end of the special operation, A. Israilov asked B. Chilayev to give him a ride home, to Grozny. As they were driving, the car was checked twice; however, when they were pulled over for the third time, armed men rudely pulled the young men out of the car and pushed them into their vehicle. Israilov was put into the trunk, while Chilayev was pushed into the backseat. They were driven away in an unknown direction. Chilayev’s car (a white VAZ-21074 car, license plate Ñ 912 ÌÅ 06) was also hijacked.
According to witnesses, the abductors, eight masked men, drove away on two cars: a silver VAZ-21099 car, license plate 487 ÕÑ 95, and a silver VAZ-2112 hatchback, license plate Ò 591 ÐÒ 95. A commissioned officer’s identification tag No.Ô 142733 was found at the scene.
On April 10, and in the days that followed, the Chairwoman of Civic Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina spoke by telephone to Acting Minister of the Interior of the Chechen Republic A.S. Dakayev, Deputy Head of UFSB for the CR V.N. Kazimir, Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov and a plenty of other officials, and ultimately with the President of Chechnya Alu Alkhanov, too.
All the above officials made inquiries about the abduction of Chilayev and Israilov and got back one after another with the information that the abductees were not found in any of the facilities where the detainees are put and promised to take measures to find the kidnapped men. A similar response came from the MVD Investigations and Law-Enforcement Operations Bureau (ORB-2).
People from the office of the CR Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov gave assurances that they would take every effort to find A. Israilov and B. Chilayev.
At the same time on June 5, the Chairwoman of the Human Rights Council at the RF President Ella Pamfilova got a strange response from Kadyrov’s office to her inquiry about the abduction of Israilov and Chilayev. It reads that “people participating in the abduction used on their cars exact replicas of license plates assigned to units of federal forces and the MVD of Russia” (Appendix 21).
It is still unclear how this fact was established when neither the cars nor the abductees have been found. The response letter did not provide any explanations or evidence. The response allows us only to state that the license plates on the cars used in the abduction, indeed, belong to official security agencies.
Despite all the efforts that have been taken, A. Israilov and B. Chilayev have not been found.
Meanwhile, Bulat Chilayev’s relatives have learned that the commissioned officer’s identification tag found at the crime scene belongs to a serviceman of Zapad [West] battalion Ilias Imranovich Bukulov.
The case of the abduction of Bulat Chilayev and Aslan Israilov is being investigated by the Achkhoi-Martan Prosecutor’s Office and is due shortly to be passed on to the military prosecutor’s office.
On May 25, 2006, Civic Assistance Committee staged a picket on the Akhmad Kadyrov Square in the city of Grozny, demanding the return of the abducted employee and stop to the practice of abductions. After the picket, members of the Committee were received by the CR President Alu Alkhanov. Top governmental officials of Chechnya were participating in the meeting. Alu Alkhanov noted that he was “aware of that Chilayev case” and that “it is closely monitored,” however, he expressed surprise at the slow progress of the investigation. The CR Prosecutor Valery Alekseyevich Kuznetsov, who was present at the meeting, on the contrary, said that “the progress of the investigation is normal.” As for the person, whose tag was discovered at the scene of the abduction, he said that thus far it had not been possible to interrogate him, since he served with Zapad battalion and had many official duties to perform. Or, to put it differently, one of the main suspects in the case was busy and so, could not be interrogated.
So, it is little wonder that with such an approach abduction cases are not solved, perpetrators are not punished and the practice of abductions continues unhindered A complaint was filed with the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Chilayev and Israilov. On July 12, 2006, this complaint was communicated to the Government of the RF. .
In conclusion we will tell you a story of a disappearance which looks almost incredible even as compared to the incidents already described above.
On June 9, 2006, a resident of the city of Grozny Satsita Matayeva applied to Memorial Human Rights Center, asking for help in identification of the whereabouts of her husband, Khamzat Shamsuddinovich Tushayev, who had gone missing on the premises of the Governmental Complex in Grozny.
Satsita Matayeva said that on June 7, she got a call on her mobile from an unknown man, who introduced himself as Sergey Aleksandrovich, an officer with the prosecutor’s office. He asked her to convey to her husband that he had to appear at the prosecutor’s office on the following day as a person suspected of participation in illegal armed groups.
He referred to criminal case No.56049 opened by the Shali District Prosecutor’s Office to investigate elements of a crime under Article 208, Part 2, of the RF Criminal Code.
The man from the prosecutor’s office also said that recognizance not to leave was chosen as a measure of restraint for Khamzat Tushayev.
On June 8, at 10:00 a.m., Tushayev with his wife came near the Governmental Complex, on the premises of which the prosecutor’s office is located. A policeman on duty at the gatehouse issued a pass for Khamzat after asking for approval from the Prosecutor of the Leninsky District of Grozny Taus Murdalov.
Tushayev’s wife stayed outside waiting for her husband. At 5:30 p.m., worried by the long absence of her husband, she asked a duty officer to call the prosecutor’s office. The officer on duty contacted the prosecutor’s office and asked about Tushayev. The prosecutor’s office official who answered the call said that Khamzat Tushayev had not come to their place and had not been registered there. After waiting for some more time, Tushayev’s wife returned home and told her relatives about what happened.
On the following day, Tushayev’s wife came to reception office of Memorial HRC in the city of Grozny with a written application, in which she asked for help in finding her husband. People from Grozny informed the staff in Moscow and Svetlana Gannushkina immediately got in touch with Taus Murdalov. The prosecutor said they did not summon Tushayev, but rather he himself came with a complaint. He was let through at the first check-point, but half an hour later Murdalov got a call from the second check-point and was told that Khamzat Tushayev had not appeared there. When asked, “Is it possible to disappear without a trace from the premises of the Governmental Complex?” the Leninsky District Prosecutor said, “No, it is not possible.”
Two months have passed since the disappearance of Kh. Tushayev, but there is still no information about his whereabouts.
Satsita Matayeva claims that, since the date he first applied to Memorial on June 9, 2006, no investigative actions have been undertaken by the Grozny Prosecutor’s Office to find her husband.