Events were held in Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa, Yoshkar-Ola, Orenburg and Grozny.
Between June 24 -27 all branch offices of the Interregional Committee Against Torture conducted a number of events devoted to the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Thus, in Nizhny Novgorod there was a discussion entitled “The burning problem of tortures in Nizhny Novgorod region”. Among the participants there were staff members of the Committee Against Torture, Nizhny Novgorod human rights defender Stanislav Dmitriyevsky, head of the Soldiers’ Mothers’ Committee Natalia Zhukova, chairman of the Public Monitoring Commission for supervision of human rights observance in prisons and detention facilities Alexander Listkov, Nizhny Novgorod representative of the Institute for Information Freedom Development Tatiana Tolsteneva, as well as Nizhny Novgorod lawyers and students.
It must be noted that the discussion was attended by Sergey Galkin, deputy head of the Human Resources Department of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Internal Affairs Directorate. Being the only representative of law enforcement authorities, he received a lot of questions. Sergey Galkin reassured the participants that tortures and other forms of ill-treatment were inadmissible, and that the Human Resources Department was doing its best to prevent such violations among law enforcers. Mr. Galkin also expressed his confidence that the police reform would increase the effectiveness of law enforcers’ work, and a constructive cooperation with NGOs would improve law observance by the police.
There were similar events in Ufa and Orenburg. Workers of local ICAT offices organized meetings of human rights defenders, civil activists, representatives of law enforcement bodies, members of public monitoring commissions and journalists. All stakeholders were provided a discussion platform. The discussions took several hours. The participants voiced the most burning problems of interaction between the authorities and human rights defenders. Attention was paid both to positive developments and remaining problems.
In Yoshkar-Ola, workers of the Mariy El representation of the CAT organized a visit to the Museum of GULAG History with a lecture on the history of tortures in Russia. The audience listened to the presentations of torture victims, human rights defenders and researchers on the problem of torture. There was a discussion of the principles of interaction between human rights and other NGOs in the sphere of torture prevention.
In Grozny, where the problem of tortures and enforced disappearances is especially pressing, it was decided to conduct a picket. Although the action had been approved by the authorities, the picket provoked inadequate feedback of the police. The stumbling block was the banner reading “We are against police abuse!” Apparently, the police think that Chechen residents should be for police abuse and not against it. As a result, the picket was unlawfully terminated and the banners were withdrawn. The organizers were summoned to the City Directorate of the Interior where they heard threats. None of such actions of state agents is in accordance with law, to put it mildly. And in fact, this is the arbitrary treatment you cannot speak about in Chechnya. You can resort to it, but you cannot speak about it. People are abducted, but there is no arbitrariness. Tortures are used, but there is no arbitrariness. A peaceful authorized picket is dispersed, but still there is no arbitrariness.
This is nonsense, but it’is the only possible interpretation of the behaviour of Chechen law enforcers.