This night at the check-point on the road to Nizhny Novgorod the traffic police stopped the car with the chairman of the Committee against Torture, Mr. Igor Kalyapin. Three people in civilian clothes approached the car; two of them introduced themselves as special agents Zotov and Simenenko, Centre for struggle against extremism under the Directorate of the Interior of Nizhny Novgorod region (the third agent did not introduce himself). They said they needed to search the car. Igor Kalyapin responded that any search without witnesses was unlawful and he would not allow that. “We have got witnesses”, replied extirpators of extremism.
They searched the car, the bag with documents, other bags and even first aid kits. The agents found a bag with 12 copies of the book that the day before had been launched in Moscow. The full name of the book is “International tribunal for Chechnya: legal perspectives of prosecuting people responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict in Chechnya”.
The agents asked whom the booked belonged to and where Mr. Kalyapin had acquired them. Mr. Kalyapin explained that he had been to Moscow to meet ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, and had taken part in the conference on using international legal mechanisms to hold those responsible for crimes in Chechnya individually liable. The visit to Moscow was due to the fact that the CAT worked with such problems and was present in Chechnya.
The books were seized. The agents explained that they wanted to check whether the printed matter contained extremist statements. Mr. Kalyapin wondered how one could withdraw all copies, instead of one, without even knowing the content of the book. The reply was: “What if we find something and the books will be already given away.”
All copies of the book were sealed with labels of the Investigation Administration of the Nizhegorodsky district Investigation Committee under the Nizhny Novgorod region Prosecutor’s Office. Two protocols were prepared: for vehicle inspection and seizure of goods and documents.
It should be mentioned that the box for giving the cause of seizure was not filled in. It appears that legal grounds for their actions are not clear to the staffs of the Centre for struggle against extremism themselves.