5 years passed since the attack on the human rights defenders’ office in Grozny. The guilty have not been found yet


13 December 2019

Today is five years since the day when a group of unknown people set fire to the office of the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders working in the Chechen Republic (JMG). A criminal case was initiated upon the fact of the arson; now the first department of Principle Investigation Division of the Russian Federation Investigative Committee in the North Caucasian Federal District is dealing with it. After such a long time there has been no progress on the case. Today we present to your attention film by Evgeny Chilikov “Evacuation”, which describes what victims of torture, and those who is trying to help them, have to deal with in Chechnya.

Let us remind you that on 13 December 2014 there was a large meeting in the capital of Chechnya. According to the information of RIA News human rights defenders and public organizations from Chechnya took part in this meeting, as well as students and relatives of the policemen who died on December 4 in the course of rebuffing the terroristic attack on Grozny city. According to the data of the police, up to 50 thousand people participated in the meeting. The participants of the action were holding the posters with slogans: “No repeating of the 4th of December!”, “There is no place for bandits in our land!”, “We say “No” to terrorism and extremism”, «Kаlyapin go Home», «Ramzan!!! Protect us from “dollar” human rights defenders!”, «V.V. Putin! Send Kalyapin followers back to their masters!”, “Chechen human rights defenders, protect your people from the traitors who sold out themselves to the West!”

When the meeting was over three unknown people with an object that looked like a pistol tried to get into the office of JMG in the center of Grozny. Two hours later some unknown people on “Priora” vehicle started to chase the employees of the office. Around 21.20 the office of JMG was set on fire.

Member of JMG Sergey Babinets described the events of that evening in the following way: “We knew that journalists from “Al-Jazeera were there (in hotel “Grozny-City” – the author’s note)”, so we decided to go to them as soon as possible. At the same time, we tried to call Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Chechnya to the hotel. On our way we found that we were being followed. It was a silver “Priora”.

After getting rid of the chase and reaching the “Grozny-City” the JMG members met with the first Deputy of Minister of Internal Affairs of the Chechen Republic Apti Alaudinov. According to them he said that he could no longer provide for safe stay of JMG members in Grozny.

The next day members of JMG who tried to take the remaining property and documents from the burned office were apprehended by the policemen, their cell phones, laptops and a dashboard camera from the company car were seized. Later on the equipment that had been taken away was returned to the human rights defenders.

Only on 12 February 2015 a criminal case was initiated based on the fact of the arson at the JMG office. The conducted expertise of this criminal case confirmed that there was arson with three fire sources. Up till now the investigative authorities do not even have suspects in this case.

Today we present to your attention film by Evgeny Chilikov “Evacuation”, which describes what victims of torture, and those who is trying to help them, have to deal with in Chechnya.

 “The mere presence of tortures in Chechnya does not make it a special region on the Russian map. However, Chechnya is the region, where people are tortured and prohibitied from uttering a moan. “Evacuation” describes how pained reaction of the authorities to torture complaints becomes a serious threat for stay in Chechnya both for victims of illegal violence and human rights defenders, who support them”, – film director Evgeny Chilikov describes.

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