Yesterday, on 31 July 2018, former officer of the Counter Extremism Center, Timur Albakov, stated in court that his superior, Ibragim Eldzharkiev, forced him to plant a gun on Albert Khamkhoev. As we have previously reported, Khamkhoev initially claimed that the weapon was planted by the police officers, and he subsequently was subjected to torture in order for him to confess. The criminal case on Albert’s torture is still under investigation, however, no charges have yet been brought against the suspect in this crime, officer of Counter Extremism Center Andrey Ovada, and he still continues his service in the law-enforcement.
(Albert Khamkhoev (second from the left) with his representatives)
In December 2017, Aza Khamkhoeva from Yandare settlement in Ingushetia applied to the Committee Against Torture. She reported that on 14 November 2017 at about 3 p.m. several masked people in black and camouflage uniform, armed with automatic rifles, stormed the apartment where she lived. Three persons in civilian clothes armed with pistols accompanied them. According to Aza, unidentified masked people captured her son Albert Khamkhoev, tied his hands up, made him stand against the wall and put a pistol in his hand, after that they put the pistol in this belt.
“After that they brought Albert to the yard and again made him stand against the wall, took out the magazine from the pistol (where two cartridges were left) and made him lay on the ground. The put these actions on record in the presence of two attesting witness, who came together with the armed masked men. Then the masked people together with the people in civilian clothes performed a search of our household. The search itself lasted for about two hours. Nothing illegal was found, and it made an impression that this was done in order to compliance with formalities”, – Aza Khamkhoeva described.
Further developments were described by Albert Khamkhoev to defense lawyer Aleksandr Karavaev, provided by the Committee Against Torture: “I was put into Priora, there were five men inside together with me. Right away they put a black plastic bag on me, braided it with Scotch tape and were beating him up all the way non-stop without explaining the reasons, poked a barrel of a machine gun at him. After that I was taken to some building (as I was, in a plastic bag and handcuffed). They brought me to the second floor, put me on my knees and continued to beat me up. They were beating me up with a plastic bottle filled with water. Then they put some pins on my fingers and started to electrocute me so that I passed out a couple of times. They took the wires off my fingers, attached them in the area of the earlap, and electrocuted me again”.
According to Albert, after the tortures he was taken out of the building and one of the law-enforcement officers told him that they were in the Center for counteraction of extremist activity of the Republic of Ingushetia. Albert also explained to the defense lawyer that the firearm that was seized from him was received from illegal armed groups.
A criminal case was initiated with regard to Albert Khamkhoev under part 1 Article 222 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“illegal purchase, transfer, sales, weapons transportation or bearing, or its main parts, as well as ammunition”). On 16 November 2017, he was taken in custody for two months.
“On 17 November, at about eight in the evening he was taken from Temporary Detention Facility to the FSB building in Magas. In that building I was again tortured with electricity”, – Albert Khamkhoev comments.
On 21 November, human-rights ombudsman of the Republic of Ingushetia Djambulat Ozdoev visited Albert at the Pre-Trial Detention Center of Karabulak. The ombudsman confirmed that he saw numerous signs of physical violence on Khamkhoev’s body.
Due to Albert’s complaint about torture and forgery of evidence, on 20 November the Investigative Committee started a pre-trial check. In the course of conducting medical forensic examination medics found numerous bruises on Khamkhoev: in occipital region, on the chest, in the abdominal region, right and left shoulder, thighs, as well as in the area of the right knee joint and a lower leg. Khamkhoev’s body also featured bruises in the area of the right and the left forearms.
On 20 December, based on the results of pre-trial check, the ruling on dismissal of initiating the criminal case was passed; however, the material of the torture complaint check was severed and additional check was conducted with regard to it.
On 22 January 2018 investigator of the Nazran Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Ingushetia Gandaloev passed a ruling on initiating a criminal case against unidentified police officers based on the crime under item “a” Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“abuse of office with the use of violence”).
Starting from 4 June of this year, Albert started to participate in investigative activities – identifications of law-enforcement officers who took part in his apprehension. On 6 June, he identified Andrey Ovada, officer of the regional counter-extremism center, as a person who tortured him. On the same day Andrey Ovada got a status of a suspect and was imposed travel restrictions.
In its turn, on 28 April of this year, the Nazran District Court started the examination of the criminal case on keeping of a weapon with regard to Albert Khamkhoev.
Yesterday, former officer of Counter Extremism Center Timur Albakov was questioned in court in a capacity of a witness. The former investigative officer stated in court that he was supposed to participate in search in Khamkhoev’s house. Before the search, Acting Head of the Ingush Counter Extremism Center, Ibragim Eldzharkiev made him to plant a gun on Albert.
According to Albakov, he refused to do it, and because of that he did not participate in the apprehension and the search. The witness also added that he saw Khamkhoev in the department after the apprehension, as well as heard his screams from the room, where Andrey Ovada was “working” with him.
“It causes our great concern that the police officer suspected of torture, has not yet been suspended from duty and no charges have been yet brought against him. We think that he may put a pressure on the investigation, witnesses and the victim, being in a status of an acting police officer, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov emphasized. – After the witness statements of Tumur Albakov, stated in court, we will be submitting a motion to question him with regard to the criminal case on Albert’s tortures”.