Tuesday, January 03, 2006

IHF: Detention and Torture of Ingush Citizens

To: Aleksandr Bigulov, Prosecutor of the Republic of North Ossetia -
Alania, Vladikavkaz, Via facsimile + 7 (8672) 53 37 94
Head of the North Caucasus Department of the Prosecutor General's Office,
Yessentuki, Via facsimile + 7(8793) 460 700

Copy: Vladimir Ustinov, Prosecutor General of the RF, Via facsimile +7(095)
921-41-86
Vladimir Lukin, Ombudsman of the RF, Via facsimile +7(095) 207-76-30
Ella Pamfilova, Chair of the Human Rights Council under the President of the
RF, Via facsimile +7 (095) 206-48-55

Vienna, 3 January 2006

Re. Unlawful detention and torture of Ingush citizens Muslim Tsechoev,
Ruslan Tsechoev, Magomed Tsechoev and Yusup Khashiev; strong circumstantial
evidence for the fabrication of a criminal case against Ruslan Tsechoev

Dear Prosecutor Bigulov,

I am writing to you on behalf of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) regarding the unlawful detention of four men from the Muslim court house (“Kadyat”) in Nazran, Ingushetia, on 30 November 2005.

All four men reportedly were tortured, and while three of the four were sent home the same night, a criminal case was opened against the fourth one,Ruslan Tsechoev. There is circumstantial evidence that this criminal case is based on fabricated evidence, and if there is no other evidence against him, we ask you to drop the charges and release Tsechoev. Furthermore, we ask you to investigate the apparently illegal circumstances of the detention of the four men, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of any torture applied to them.

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On 30 November 2005, at about 11 am, four persons were unlawfully detained from the Muslim court house (“Kadyat”) in Nazran, Republic of Ingushetia:

Muslim Tsechoev (born 1980), Ruslan Tsechoev (born 1982) and Magomed Tsechoev (born 1991), inhabitants of the village Alhasty, Sovietskaya Street 21, and Yusup Khashiev (born 1969), inhabitant of the village đ×rdzonikidzevskaya, Michurin Street.

A group of armed people in masks, presumably representatives of the Russian security structures, arrived in several cars without license plates and with tinted windows. They surrounded the Muslim Court House, in which around 25 persons were present (to deal with a dispute between two local inhabitants), including the deputy of the Ingush parliament, Magomet-Sali Aushev. They forced everyone in the building to come out to the street, and, directing their weapons on them, demanded that they put their hands behind their heads and spread their legs. In this position all of them were carefully searched, and their documents were checked. Then, the young men were separated from the rest, handcuffed and made to stand facing a wall.

Two cars that were standing outside the building, a VAZ-2109 and a VAZ-2110, belonging to Yusup Khashiev and Muslim Tsechoev, were subjected to a careful check. In Tsechoev’s car they found a hunting rifle, together with documents - a sanction and registration from the Ingush Ministry of Internal Affairs RI for this weapon.

In spite of the fact that they could not find anything that was not in order, the unknown armed men forced Muslim, Ruslan and Magomet Tsechoev, and Yusup Khashiev into their cars and brought them away, without giving any explanations but the announcement that they would be brought to Magas.

Relatives interpreted the words “Magas” as the main department of the Ingush FSB, which is located in Magas. Also the two searched cars were taken away. Relatives of the kidnapped men tried all day to find out about their destiny. They made an application to the police station, and addressed the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

After midnight three of the four kidnapped men came back home. They said that they had been brought to the RUBOP – the Interior Ministry’s Department for the Fight Against Organised Crime -in Vladikavkaz. Each of them was led into a separate room where things likeflat-nose pliers, saws and hammers lay on a table. The young men were asked “Well, it is for you to choose how to be tortured.” Then, during several hours, they were severely beaten and tortured. The RUBOP staff used the hammers to beat on their legs, struck their renal regions with truncheons and tortured them with electroshocks.

From time to time photos of persons were shown to them with the demand to recognize them, and questions about well-known armed rebels were asked. At some point around midnight, the RUBOP inspectors decided to again “search” one of the two cars stolen by them, the “VAZ-2109”, and despite the fact that the car had already been carefully searched near the Muslim Court House without any results, they declared that this time they found a pistol and to a grenade. After that, Muslim and Magomed Tsechoev together with Yusup Khashiev, were released, while Ruslan Tsechoev was kept. The released had to sign papers that they would not bring forward any claims against those who had detained them, as well as interrogation reports without the possibility to read them.

However, the day after they were released, the two Tsechoev brothers and Khashiev wrote applications to the Office of the Public Prosecutor, because of their unlawful arrest and the physical violence used against them. They also addressed the republican hospital with the request to certify the torture traces. The doctors, in turn, asked for directions from medical experts, which was hard but nevertheless possible to receive. Therefore, their medical check could confirm the torture and beatings. Only the urologist and the neuropathologist refused to inspect the three young men, referring to their heavy workloads.

On 1 November, the relatives of Ruslan Tsechoev, employed a lawyer, Ruslan Evloev, who met his client. In this meeting he was told by Ruslan that during the interrogation torture was applied against him, and based on this Evloev wrote a complaint about this.

As of 12 December 2005, Ruslan Tsechoev, was held in the pre-trial establishment (SIZO) in Vladikavkaz, whereby the investigatory group of the State Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Northern Caucasus, headed by inspector Krivorotov, is responsible for the case. The decision of the court was a 30-days pre-trial detention of Tsechoev based on a charge under article 208 (gangsterism).

From the copy of Ruslan Tsechoev’s application to the public prosecutor of North Ossetia / Alanya, A Bigulov, dated 30 November 2005:

"I was detained on 30 November on the suspicion of having committed a crime under article 209 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and since 2 December, I am held in the SIZO in Vladikavkaz. Since 30 November, I was regularly beaten and tortured by the UBOP staff members, who demanded from me to admit a crime which I did not commit. My kidneys, and all other internal organs were beaten. From the beating I became deaf. I received no medical help. On 8 December, at about 11:00, I was taken out from the SIZO again, and brought to the UBOP, where I was regularly beaten till 19:00, interrupted by demands to tell them, where I have put a land mine, and with whom and where I was in the wood. Additionally, in the presence of a lawyer, they demanded from me to admit, that I had transported a pistol and a grenade in my car, telling me that they had found a pistol and a pomegranate there. Not being able to sustain the torture, I told them, that indeed I transported a pistol and a pomegranate. They put clips on my ears and tortured me with electricity, beat me with a truncheon and a book against my head. They threatened, that if I would tell anyone about this torture they would kill me.

I ask you to protect me from the beating and the torture. The present application I send through the lawyer as I do not know how else to send it. I am afraid, that if I send it through the SIZO, it will not be accepted.

9.12.2005, Tsechoev R.B.”

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Therefore, as mentioned at the beginning of the letter, we want to ask you to reconsider the charges against Ruslan Tsechoev and release him. Furthermore, we ask you to investigate the apparently illegal circumstances of the detention of Muslim, Ruslan and Magomed Tsechoev and Yusup Khashiev on 30 November 2005, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of any torture applied to them.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns.

Yours sincerely,


Aaron Rhodes

cc Council of Europe, Mr. Rudolf Bindig, Chechnya-Rapporteur for the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights; Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Manfred Nowak European Union, Personal Representative for Human Rights in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Mr Michael Matthiessen European Parliament, EU-Russia Parliamentary Co-operation Committee; Subcommittee on Human Rights ICRC sub-delegation in Nalchik OSCE Delegations National Helsinki Committees

__________________________________________
Joachim Frank, Project Coordinator
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
Wickenburggasse 14/7
A-1080 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 22
Fax: +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 50
Web: http://www.ihf-hr.org
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