Officer of Ingush Department for Countering Extremism became a suspect in the case of Albert Khamkhoev’s tortures


07 June 2018

Yesterday, on 6 June 2018, Albert Khamkhoev identified one of his torturers in the framework of the torture case. It was Andrey Ovada, officer of the regional counter-extremism center, who at the time of the crime was senior investigating officer. Ovada was interrogated in the capacity of a suspect and travel restriction was imposed on him. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing Khamkhoev’s interests, intend to insist on transferring the case to the republican level for further investigation.

(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”).

On 13 March 2018 the Nazran District Court of the Republic of Ingushetia released Albert Khamkhoev and placed him under house arrest.

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.

Yesterday, identification took place, in which Andrey Ovada, officer of the regional counter-extremism center, participated. The victim identified him as a person who tortured him. Investigator Khazbulat Mamatov declared his intention to interrogate Ovada in a capacity of the suspect on the same day and apprehend him. However, the following incident happened prior to Ovada’s interrogation.

“After identification acting head of the counter-extremism center of the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Ingushetia Ibragim Eldzharkiev appeared in the building. He demanded from the investigator that he allowed him to talk with Khamkhoev one-on-one for five minutes. Acting head of the Investigative Department Zakri Kurkiev responded to Eldzharkiev that the latter had no business to discuss with the victim, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov, who was present yesterday during the investigative activity, describes. – After Eldzharkiev talked with Kurkiev behind the closed doors, the investigator interrogated Andrey Ovada in a capacity of the suspect and released him, having imposed travel restrictions. We don’t know the motive to cancel the planned apprehension of the suspect, however, it raises concert for what will become of the investigation”.

On 11 May 2018, Albert Khamkhoev’s representatives applied to the Investigative Department with a request to transfer this case to the republican level. There has been no response as yet to this.

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