On 26 December 2013 the Chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov submitted to the Chairman of the investigative Committee a report on the human rights situation in the context of investigating church arsons a and preparation of terrorist acts in the Republic of Tatarstan. Human rights defenders have checked if the authorities have due respect to the suspects’ rights.
(Photo: Mikhail Fedotov, image by http://www.svoboda.org)
On 17 December members of the Presidential Human Rights Council – the Chairman of the «Agora» Human Rights Association Pavel Chikov, and the Chairman of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» Igor Kalyapin arranged a trip for a joint human rights group to Chistopol, Nizhnekamsk, and Alekseevkiy District of Tatarstan with the purpose to check the fact of alleged violations of detained Moslem’s’ rights. The group consisted of lawyers working with Kazan Human Rights Center, Committee Against Torture, and regional Public Oversight Commission.
The human rights group visited detention centers in the Alekseevskiy District Department of the Interior, the temporary isolation ward of the Nizhnekamsk Directorate of the Interior, and Nizhnekamsk Central District Hospital, where they had an appointment with the Deputy Chief of Medicine. The joint group interviewed 12 individuals, including the allegedly ill-treated detainees, as well as those detainees’ relatives, who reported excessive violence against them, and who claimed not to be informed about their whereabouts.
The human rights defenders have arrived at the conclusion that in the case of Rafael Zaripov there are «indications of exceeding official powers with the use of violence», and in the case of Almaz Galeev there are indications of «negligent performance of duty on the part of the isolation ward staff, which have entailed personal injury of the detainee». The group also notes that on several occasions suspects haven’t been allowed to see their advocates. There are also complaints about repeated unlawful searches, «which might constitute unjustified invasion of personal privacy and violations of the right to the inviolability of the home».
«Since the notorious incident in the «Dalniy» Police Department of Kazan in March 2012 there have been no complaints about violent acts of police officers in Tatarstan, until the present situation», report the Human Rights Council Members, Pavel Chikov and Igor Kalyapin, «We know it for sure that superior staff of the Ministry of the Interior of Tatarstan instructed the police not to beat statements out of suspects and accused. There is no doubt that church arsons and possession of explosives are criminal offenses. The fact the operational activity in those criminal proceedings is effected by the Federal Security Service and Center for Combating Extremism confirms that these actions pose extra high threat to society. Nevertheless, torture and ill-treatment are prohibited in absolute terms, and there’s no allowance for any exceptions or justifying factors or balancing of interests. Nothing can excuse the resumption of ill-treatment practice in the Republic of Tatarstan».
Members of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights asked Mikhail Fedotov to address the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Bastrykin requesting to transfer criminal case files, for further pre-trail investigation into the church arsons and preparation of terrorist acts, to the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for Volga Federal District (Nizhny Novgorod), as well as pre-investigation inquiry files concerning alleged violations of Rafael Zaripov’s and Almaz Galeev’s rights.
The report on the human rights situation in the context of investigating church arsons a and preparation of terrorist acts in the Republic of Tatarstan is available in Russian on the official website of the Presidential Human Rights Council.