FROM THE CONFLICT ZONE
BULLETIN OF HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER “MEMORIAL”
(the issue prepared by HRC “Memorial” in Nazran)
‘Memorial’ Human Rights Center presents its latest information bulletin based on the results of monitoring of human rights abuses in the armed conflict zone in the Chechen Republic, the Republic of Ingushetia and Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.
You can find our monthly bulletins on the anglophone web pages athttp://www.memo.ru/eng/memhrc/index.shtml Click to link “HR NEWS”
Your questions and comments, please, send to:
386100 Republic Ingushetia, Nazran, Mutalieva, 46 Human Rights Centre “Memorial”
phone/fax + 7 (8732 ) 22 23 49
The Situation in the Chechen Republic: January 2005
According to HRC “Memorial”’s data*, during January 2005:
1.Killed: 13 persons
2. Kidnapped: 18 persons
NB! Given the specific nature of the monitoring carried out in the Chechen Republic, it has to be acknowledged that the information received will be gradually supplemented over the following few months. Therefore, regrettably, the numbers of those killed and abducted in January 2005 will inevitably grow.
On January 1, at 11 p.m. in the village of Geldagan, Kurchaloy district of Chechnya a military accident took place on the base of the republican security service, under control of Ramzan Kadyrov. As a result three persons were killed.
The local residents explained that on that day “the kadyrovtsy” brought to their base a young man, resident of Sergen-Yurt, Shalinsky district of Chechnya. During the interrogation they beat him up severely until he lost consciousness. Having left their victim, “the kadyrovtsy” decided to take a break - to have a drink and some food.
The captive regained consciousness, managed to get hold of their machine gun and opened fire. He killed two “kadyrovtsy”, after that the machine gun was jammed. The kadyrovtsy shot him dead.
One of the killed kadyrovtsy was a resident of Tsotsin-Yurt village, the other-Uzhaev Dzaddal- the resident of the village of Majrtup. The identity of the captive has not been established.
On January 2, at about 4 p.m. in the village of Proletarskoje, Groznensky (Selsky) district of Chechnya, unidentified representatives of Chechen power structures, who arrived by cars YAZ (over 10 cars) kidnapped Gaziev Zaurbek, born 1981. At the moment of kidnapping the military servicemen heavily injured Gaziev.
According to the wife of the kidnapped, the unidentified servicemen knocked on the door of Gaziev house early in the morning. Zaurbek opened. Behind the door was a big group of servicemen (up to 25 people), they immediately made several gun shots into Gaziev and heavily injured him. Then, having broken into the flat and shouting “where are weapons”, they started beating the wife of Gaziev – Lina Markhieva. They dragged her around the room pooling her hair and demanded that she showed them where the weapon was, threatening to rape her if she failed to do so. All this was happening in front of the two infant daughters of Gazievs, who, woken up by the shouting and shooting, squeezed themselves into the bed corner and were screaming of terror.
Having got nothing out of Lina, the military servicemen made several series of shots out of automatic weapon. One of the bullets got into the shoulder of the younger daughter Maka Gazieva, aged 1,5. The injury of the child, however, did not have any effect on the military servicemen. Moreover, one of the servicemen took a pillow and started suffocating the older daughter Rayana, aged 2,5. At the same time the rest of the servicemen carried out an unsanctioned search in the flat. Having thrown all the furniture and clothes around they found nothing. The military servicemen left taking injured Zaurbek with them. Lina Markhieva claims that all of the servicemen were in the state of alcoholic intoxication. Gold valuables, clothes, cell phone and small items were stolen.
At dawn the relatives took the injured girl to Ingushetia, where she was placed into the hospital. The same day Lina Markhieva headed towards the 9th hospital in Grozny, supposing that her husband could have been brought there by the kidnappers. Indeed, in the hospital she saw the same military servicemen, who were at their house. The military servicemen recognized the woman and threatened her with detainment. Later it turned out that Gaziev was registered as “unidentified” patient and the doctors were forbidden to let anybody have access to him.
Later, Gazievs found out that Zaurbek was in Nozhaj-Yurt district hospital under guard. Having hired an attorney they went there, but were denied access to him. The relatives turned to law enforcement agencies, the Committee for human rights and freedoms of the Chechen Republic. and “Memorial”. Having written an application in the office of “Memorial”, Lina Markhieva left the office, but immediately returned back. She was very frightened and said that she was pursued. She asked one of the “Memorial” colleagues to stand outside and watch her leaving. The “Memorial” monitor walked her outside and, indeed, noticed two cars with darkened windows. Through the front window she noticed military servicemen inside. As the woman left, the cars with the military servicemen followed Markhieva.
According to Lina Markhieva, her husband Zaurbek Gaziev spent the last years in Kazakhstan and came back to Chechnya just recently to take his family with him.
On January 11, early in the morning after 7:00 a.m. in the village Argun, the personnel of federal power agency blocked the house of Abdurakhmanov Elikh, born 1952, resident of Karla Marksa street.
Some of them entered the house and called Elikh by the nick name used by his family “Emmy, is that you?”. Having got a positive answer, the military servicemen took Abdurakhmanov outside and put him in the Gazel car and drove in the unknown direction.
The attempts of the relatives to establish the whereabouts of Abdurkhanov have been inconclusive. As of February 1, 2005 his whereabouts are unknown. Abdurakhmanov, the father of 6 children, was collecting and selling recyclable metal for a leaving.
On January 15 at about 9 p.m. in Grozny armed military servicemen kidnapped a pregnant woman, Zalina Barkinkhoeva, born 1979, the resident of Nozhaj-Yurtovsky district.
Zalina came to Grozny for medical examination. She stayed with her mother, resident of D’yakova street, 10 app. 49. The armed servicemen in camouflage uniform arrived at the house and without presenting themselves said that there was checking up of documents carried out.
In the flat together with Zalina and her mother were also Zalina’s siblings. After everybody’s passports were checked, Zalina was asked to get out to the staircase. She put a coat over her gown and went. When her brother and sister tried to follow her the military servicemen pushed them aside. The unidentified servicemen left the flat and took the woman with them. The relatives rushed after the kidnappers, just to see a YAZ car turning around the corner.
Zalina was released a few days later. She is very scared and keeps telling everything was all right with her. She claims that she has been released after two days in captivity, but actually 5 days after the kidnapping her parents were still searching for her and consulting Memorial. So, possibly, she is trying to make things look better than they really were.
Zalina is unemployed. Her first husband Batukaev Ruslan, resident of Prigorodnoe was killed by a random bullet during zachistka in 2003. Zalina was in a very bad psychological condition after his death. At that time she was pregnant and had a miscarriage as a result of the stress. The second time Zalina got married in the summer of 2004 against her parents will. In the detainment she was asked about the friends of her first husband.
On January 24, an attempt on the life of Tapalov Adam took place in the village of Achkhoj-Martan. In the morning Tapalov, as usual got into his car YAZ 21 010 and together with his driver went to work. At the moment when the car approached the prosecutor’s office the car exploded. Probably the explosives were fixed to the bottom of the car. As a result of the explosion, Tapalov Adam lost part of his leg, most likely the second leg will have to be amputated as well. The driver of Tapalov was likewise seriously injured. All windows of the prosecutor’s office were broken.
On January 25,at the checkpoint located in the proximity of the village of Goyty, Urus-Martan district of Chechnya, masked representatives of power agencies detained the resident of Goyty, Mousaev Ruslan, born 1969, domicile address: Mutsaeva street, 101.
The military servicemen stopped a taxi, which Mousaev was travelling by, and asked him to present documents, which Mousaev did (he had the old type passport). Without explaining anything, the military servicemen placed Mousaev in their car. During a few days Ruslan was kept on unidentified premises, he was interrogated only once under torture. On January 31, Mousaev was dropped out near the village of Starye Atagi.
From the interview with Ruslan Mousaev:
It was on January 25, 2005. I was coming from Goyty to Grozny by taxi. At a mobile checkpoint , I was stopped. Basically, they stopped almost every car. They were dressed in camouflage and were wearing masks. I was asked to show my passport which I did. This passport was the reason for my detainment. It was the old type passport. The passport was the pretext of my detainment. I do not remember exactly how it happened and what I was told, I just remember being put into a car. They put a bag over my head and wrapped scotch tape around my neck over the bag. After that the car started. They were not talking to me while we were driving.
I do not remember how much time I spent there. After I was released my relatives told me that I was missing for a week. But I myself thought I was released the same night. I mean, I thought, I was detained in the morning and released in the evening. I was interrogated only once. They asked where I fought, where was my weapon, where were the fighters etc. They spoke unaccented Russian. During the interrogation they were beating me very hard and also made some kind of injection. I do not know what it was. You can see yourself the marks of torture. They did not give me water even once, to say nothing about food. I was sleeping on the concrete floor. The room where I was kept in was very small. It was probably 1,5 / 1,5 meters. The walls were also concrete, it was very cold there. To put it short, for me the time stopped. As I said earlier, I do not know how much time I spent there.
Then I was again put into a car. They did not talk to me, did not explain me where they were taking me to. I decided that this was the end. I was sure they were taking me for execution. But some 30 minutes later they dropped me out of the car. Took the handcuffs off and the bag and they left. It was already dark, so I did not know where I was. I headed towards the light. Soon some people gave me a lift. It turned out that they dropped me out near the village of Starye Atagi. These people brought me to militia. There I was given food and taken home. My passport remained with the military servicemen.
On January 30 at about 4: 00 in the village of Achkhoi-Martan the personnel of Russian power agencies kidnapped Umaev Zelimkhan, born 1984 resident of Isaeva street 21, and Bibulatov Alik, born 1983, resident of Isaeva street 19. The military servicemen arrived by two APCs and two YAZ cars. They did not explain the reasons of detainment and did not let the young men put their shoes on, they were taken out barefoot.
Zelimkan Umaev was previously detained in April 2004. That time he was detained by the personnel of Chechen militia. According to his relatives, Zelimkhan was beaten and tortured and forced to sign a testimony about crimes committed by some unknown person. Umaev signed them. After his release, Zelimkhan turned to the district prosecutor and reported that he signed evidence under torture.
A representative of Sernovodsk office of HRC “Memorial” visited ROVD of Achkhoi-Martan District and inquired about Bibulatov and Umaev. In the militia he was told that this fact was not registered in the department and the local militiamen did not participate in the kidnapping.
On January 3 in Shalinsky District of Chechnya, Chechen militia together with military servicemen of the RF carried out an operation for liquidation of shadow oil processing mini-factories. In the course of the operation in the village of Mesker-Yurt happened a conflict between the personnel of local security service under command of Ramzan Kadyrov and the Russian military servicemen. “Kadyrovtsy” tried to obstruct the liquidation of mini-factories (according to unofficial sources, the representatives of the Security Service control the oil processing and the owners of the mini-factories pay them dues). In the squabble, one of the ‘kadrovtsy’ Gadaev Ayub in order to scare the military servicemen, opened fire under their feet from his hand machine-gun. As a result, the deputy commandant of Shalinsky district, semi-colonel Dubovik I.D. was injured.
After the incident “the kadyrovtsy” retreated to their base in the village. In spite of superiority in numbers and military vehicles the federal servicemen did not fight back. Local think that only chance helped the village from a major crossfire.
At night of January 18-19 in the proximity of village Novy Sharoi, Achkhoy-Martanovsky district of Chechnya, the personnel of Russian federal army detained two representatives of Chechen security agencies, allegedly the representatives of battalion “Vostok” (the commander Yamadaev). Shovkhalov Aslambek, born 1976, was killed, Kaimov Anzor, born 1977, managed to escape.
According to the representatives of Achkhoi-Martanovsky and Sunzhensky ROVD, Shovkhalov and Kaimov were driving a Zhiguli-6 car when they were stopped by the Russian military servicemen at the crossroad of the highway “Kavkaz” and the turn to the village of Davydenko. The group of military servicemen numbered about 10 servicemen (ethnic Ossetians) and a senior officer (Russian).
Kaimov and Shovkhalov presented their IDs of GRU - Central Intelligence Department (two Chechen battalions “Vostok” and “Zapad” are part of the 42 division of the ministry of defense of the Russian Federation, but they have IDs of GRU). The federal servicemen targeted their machine guns at the Chechens and ordered them to disarm. Shovkhalov and Kaimov refused to do so and targeted their weapons at the federal servicemen. This tense situation was going on for some time. The military servicemen were the first to propose to settle things peacefully and put down the arms. Shovkhalov and Kaimov beleived them and did so. In an instance, both were thrown on the ground, disarmed and heavily beaten with gun butts. Stechkin pistol and a machine gunÀÊÑÓ were expropriated. The senior officer of the “federals” ordered his men to stop the beatings and take the detained to the closest Russian checkpoint for further sorting outs. Shovkhalov and Kaimov were put into their car and convoyed by APC driven in the direction of Novy Sharoy.
Having crossed the Assa river, the military servicemen made a turn, drove for a while along the river and stopped. The Chechen servicemen were taken out of the car. Shovkhanov was left near the car and Kaimov was taken closer to the riverside and thrown on the ground, machine gun targeted at him. Kaimov realized that the servicemen planned to kill them (when the young men were taken out of the car, the servicemen started to argue who would have their weapons). Shovkhalov was the first to try to resist, which attracted the attention of the majority of the federal servicemen. As a result there was only one servicemen left next to Kaimov. Kaimov grasped the machine gun of his guard, pushed the guard aside and threw himself into the river. He managed to swim along the stream up to the village of Novy Sharoy.
He got out of the river and tried to knock on the doors of the nearby houses. One local resident let him in. It was already 3 a.m. Kaimov explained to his host what happened and asked to take him to the head of local administration. The host agreed. However, head of administration did not open the gates (at night in Chechnya people do not risk to opened gates). Kaimov and his host returned home and waited till dawn. At 7:00 they again came to the house of administration. Kaimov managed to call his comrades for help. Then Kaimov with the head of local administration went to the site of the incident the night before. There they found a slightly damaged Zhiguli-6 car and the dead body of Shovkhalov.
At 10: 00 the administration of Sunzhensku ROVD and Achkhoi-Martanovsky ROVD were informed about murder. The case was instigated in Sunzhensky ROVD, from there transferred to the Central Minitary Prosecution, located at Khankala.
IV. Disappearances, illegal detainments of human rights workers. Armed Raid on NGO
On January 6,at the Russian – Azeri border were detained two residents of Grozny-Larisa Temirsultanova, born 1983, and Khadizhat Yusupova, born 1982. Temirsultanoova worked for the Chechen NGO “Ekho Voyni”, Yusupova for Human rights group “Nijso” (Justice).
At 11 p.m. Temirsultanova called her sister and informed her that they were approaching the Russian-Azeri border. Then the connection was broken.
Subsequently, the young women were released. 2 days later they returned home.
On January 12at 2 p.m. in the town of Nazran, Republic Ingushetia a group of armed men in masks dressed in camouflage uniform broke in the office of Information Center of the Council of NGOs (SNO), located at Moskovskaya street, 21 app. 25,.
At that moment there were seven people in the office, four of them were the employees of the Information Center SNO, two were the reporters of the Russian news web site “Kavkazskij Uzel”, three others, including a child, were visitors of the office.
Threatening everyone with guns and swearing the unidentified servicemen forced all men on the floor faces down. Women were put at the walls. No one was allowed to move or to ask questions. Having cut the telephone wire of the landline telephone, the servicemen collected everybody’s mobile phones. Having searched the rooms and the kitchen, one of the servicemen called somewhere by radio transmitter. All the papers from the table and the drawers were thrown down to the floor. After some time a man in civilian clothes arrived and everybody’s documents were checked. All passports were photographed. The Statute of the NGO was also photographed.
Only then the man in the civilian clothes presented himself: he was the investigator of FSB Department for the Ingush Republic Kirill Shevedov. In response to demands to explain what was going on, Shvedov said that they received information that a group of bandits was in the flat. Then the representatives expropriated two computers and told the head of the office Isaeva to come pick them up at the Department of FSB in the republican capital Magas next morning. Then the servicemen left.
SNO is a human rights NGO. The web site of SNO which is currently not functioning due to shortage of funding published information about human rights situation in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
On January 20, at about 6:30 p.m. in the city of Grozny from a block of flats located close to the factory “Elektropribor” unidentified servicemen in camouflage kidnapped a famous human rights defender Makhmut Magomadov, born 1954.
Having carried out a ritual of sacrifice for the Muslim holiday Kurban-Bajram Magomadov decided to take the meat to his acquaintance Abubakar Amirov, who was alone caring for his children after his pregnant wife was killed by the Russian servicemen. On the way, Magomadov’s car was followed by a Zhiguli car-9.
At the house of Abubakar Amirov, Makhmut Magomadov went upstairs with his four-year old daughter. Makhmut’s wife with their breastfed baby stayed outside. A few minutes later the house was approached by several cars (“Niva”, “YAZ 2110” (part of the registration number: 863) è “YAZ 21099”, of stale color and purple, white “YAZ 2107” (008 95/rus) and “GAZ 31029”). Unidentified armed people in masks speaking Chechen entered the house and dragged out Makhmut Magomadov and his crying little daughter Iman. The girl was barefoot.
Makhmud’s wife Albika Shabazova rushed to the daughter and husband but the military servicemen pushed her aside. Makhmut threw the keys from his car to his wife and asked the servicemen not to touch his family. Makhmut was pushed in a car “GAZ-31029” and driven in the direction of down town Grozny.
In the morning of January 24 a representative of Staropromyslovsky ROVD, Sajpudin Murtaev, responsible for kidnapping of people visited the house of Magomadov. He left the sister of Albika Shabazova a notification that on the 25th January 2005 Magomadov had to come to Staropromyslovsky ROVD. Murtaev said that the investigator of Staropromyslovsky Prosecution, Ruslan Tsukumov, informed him about the release of Magomadov Makhmud on January 23.
According to the relatives, on January 25 they talked to Ruslan Tsukumov, who informed them that he received the information about the release of Magomadov from the head of Staropromyslovsky ROVD, Akh’yad Bisultanov. Akh’yad Bisultanov, however, referred to Tsukumov as his source of information.
Obviously, the representatives of prosecution and MVD possess information about the fate of Makhmut Magomadov.
After signing the Khasav’ Yurt Treaty he stayed in the republic, and headed the special brigade against kidnapping of people. On the account of this brigade are hundreds of released people, tens of investigated and adjudicated crimes, dozens of criminals punished according to law.
After the beginning of the Second Chechen war Makhmut Magomadov worked as a lawyer in the “Chechen Committee for National Salvation”, and since recently he was an expert of International Helsinki Federation in the Northern Caucasus.
The relatives and friends of Makhmut Magomadov are seriously concerned for his safety and life.
IV. Aerial Attack on Civilian Village. Looting and Kidnapping of Civilians
On January 14, 15 and 16 in the Chechen village of Zumsoj (Itum-Kalinsky district of Chechnya) was carried out a military operation, which involved shelling of the settlement. On January 14, village Zumsoj was subjected to aerial attack, as a result, one household (of Elder Akhmud Tamaev) was leveled to ground, several other houses were seriously damaged. The same day, the troops descended from helicopters. Before the servicemen landed, the helicopters subjected the village to rocket and machinegun fire, regardless of the fact that there were no combatants in the village and no one resisted the attack.
In the village the military servicemen carried out a mop-up operation with looting, destruction of property and abductions of civilians.
On January 15 and 16 the military servicemen in a state of heavy alcoholic intoxication broke into the houses, verbally abused their residents, destroyed and looted everything that looked attractive: money, valuables, TV sets, clothes, pharmaceuticals, childrens’ clothes. Thus, in the house of Mukhaev family were taken documents – passports of the mother and older daughter, certificates of birth - and money (250,000 rubles, which the family had received as a compensation for their destroyed housing). In some of the households the military servicemen killed domestic birds and horses; blew up a YAZ car of Sajdamin Khadzhiev. In front of the indignant villagers the stolen items were loaded on helicopters.
Late at night of January 14 the servicemen detained a local resident Shirvani Nasipov, born 1956. In the morning of January 15 two other men and a teenage boy were kidnapped: Vakha Mukhaeva, 1955, Magomed Emin Ibishev, aged 30, Atabi Mukhaev,15 years old (son of Mukhaev). The same day the helicopters left the village. As of February 4, 2005 the whereabouts of the 4 kidnapped remain unknown.
The villagers turned to the prosecution with no results. Moreover, on January 28 the military servicemen arrived in the village and remained there until February 28. Looting and verbal abuse continued. This time, fortunately, nobody was kidnapped.
This is not the first attack on the settlement. In November 2003 the village was subjected to mass indiscriminate fire which resulted in many residents fleeing Zumsoj. Out of 56 inhabited households in 2003 only 15 are inhabited now. The residents of Zumsoj are confident that the recent pogroms aimed at forcing them to leave the settlement.
Zumsoj is a high mountainous village, which is very hard to access. There is no organized catering into the area. Every month the villagers collect money, hire a car and go down the district center to buy food supply for one month. Probably, the military servicemen think that if there are no residents in the mountainous villages, they will have an easier time isolating and eliminating the Chechen combatants, concentrated in the hills. The village represents a historic-architectural value - there survived ancient towers, where many families live until now. The main reasons for the residents of Zumsoj to keep living in such harsh conditions are their strive to preserve the family heirlooms and the lack of funds to resettle to plain.
For full version of the “Chronicle of Violence” for June 2004 in Russian, please, consult our web site athttp://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/caucas1/rubr/2/index.htm
V. Acts of Protest in the North Ossetian Town of Beslan
On January 20-22at the crossroad of highway Rostov-Baku and the road leading to the airport the relatives of the victims of the terrorist act in Beslan carried out a protest picket. The residents of Beslan blocked the entrance to the town and demanded resignation of the republican President Alexander Dzasokhov; instigation of criminal procedure against the ex-minister of MVD of North Ossetia Kazbek Dzantied and the head of FSB of North Ossetia Valery Andreev; carrying out of an international investigation of hostage-taking in Beslan, publicizing the results of the investigation. The protesters also demanded to close the administrative border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia.
During all three days unprecedented measures were taken to deny the residents of Vladikavkaz access to the picket. The town of Beslan was encircled thrice by militia. The picketers were visited by the officials of North Ossetia and the Southern Federal Okrug, including President Dzasokhov.
Dzasokhov assured the protesters that he was not trying to grip on power by all means but the question who would be heading the republic had to be decided in full compliance with the new law on electing the executives of federative regions. “Only in this case, it will reflect the will expression of the people” – said the President (www.kavkaz.memo.ru).
The picket was dismantled on January 22. The Executive Representative of the South Federal Okrug Dmitry Kozak reached an agreement with the participants to free the highway. The Protesters were given a chance to verbalize their demands on TV.