Chairman of the Interregional Committee Against Torture Faces Criminal Responsibility


19 January 2012

The leadership of the Chechen OMON filed a statement to the investigative authorities of the Chechen Republic about disclosure of state secrets by the chairman of the Committee Against Torture, Igor Kalyapin. Yesterday Kalyapin was informed about this by the head of the territorial department for investigating particular important cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Sobol. The statement is currently being investigated. A crime under Article 283 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is punishable with a prison sentence of 3 to 7 years.

 Igor Kalyapin regards the filing of the OMON statement as a helpless and ignorant attempt aimed at obstructing the activities of the Joint Mobile Group of human rights organizations in Chechnya (JMG), which he directs. He sees a connection between the new round of confrontation and the progress that has been achieved by the investigative group of Igor Sobol and the JMG in the investigation into the abduction and subsequent ill-treatment of Islam Umarpashayev by members of the Chechen OMON. Moreover, the JMG has received two new cases in which the suspects are also members and commanders of the Chechen OMON. One of these cases concerns the illegal detention and brutal torture by policemen of employees of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic. The investigation into these events was recently suspended by the investigative authorities in Chechnya. In late December 2011 the lawyers of the JMG sent a complaint against the suspension to the Prosecutor’s Office of the North Caucasus Federal District. In the case, which is now under review by the federal prosecutor, convincing evidence of criminal activity by the Chechen OMON was gathered. It seems the intervention of the JMG in this case seems to have filled up the cup of patience of those who may have been involved in the crime. 

Kalyapin does not understand what the OMON qualifies as “disclosure of state secrets” and believes that the OMON’s letter has no chance to lead to a guilty verdict. “They stand the same chance of success as when they had accused me of seizing of state power” says Igor. However, in light of the fact the OMON statement is reviewed by the investigative authorities in Chechnya, there is every reason to believe that the investigative authorities will do everything possible to execute the “order” of the head of the Chechen OMON Tsekayev. So there is a real risk that they will open a criminal case. Under such circumstances Kalyapin does not exclude the possibility of his arrest.

The Joint Mobile Group of human rights organizations in Chechnya (JMG) was formed after the murder of Natalya Estemirova and has been active in Grozny since the fall of 2009. The most high-profile case of the JMG is the abduction of Islam Umarpashayev by members of the Chechen OMON. Umarpashayev was illegally detained for several months on the premises of the OMON for the purpose of staging his “elimination” as a fighter. The Umarpashayev case is currently investigated by an investigative group of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation under the leadership of Igor Sobol. Igor Kalyapin is the representative of the victim, and as such participates in the investigative activities. The diary of Igor Kalyapin, in which he tells the story of the investigation into the Umarpasheyev case, gained broad popularity through its publication on the internet. Furthermore, the activities of the JMG, and in particular its work on the Umarpashayev case, have been repeatedly covered in articles of Novaya GazetaRussian Esquire and other mass media. 

 For further information, please, contact Olga Sadovskaya (office: 0078314331404, mobile: 0079519024384).

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