"The Committee Against Torture: how Kadyrov people arrange abductions", The Insider

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25 January 2015

Lately Ramzan Kadyrov is acting as a chief denunciator of enemies from without and within. He quite predictably appointed the West as the enemy from without — according to him, it was the security services of the West, not Islamic fundamentals, who were behind the terrorist acts in Paris. (Notably, today five Chechens have been detained by French police in the south of France, they are suspected of preparation for a terrorist act). Among the enemies from within Ramzan Kadyrov identified Chief Editor of Echo Moskvy radio station Aleksey Venediktov and former head of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky, but the Committee Against Torture headed by Igor Kalyapin became the target of most severe rhetoric of the head of the Chechen Republic. Kadyrov accused Kalyapin of working for Western security services and aiding terrorists, after that the human rights defenders office was arsoned. At the same time the Prosecutor’s Office included the Committee in the register of “foreign agents”, notably, among the justifications prosecutor Ponasenko specifies Kalyapin’s taking part in development of legislative proposal on amnesty in 2014 as a member of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation (despite the fact that this work was performed upon the request of President Putin).

What is real area of concern of the Committee Against Torture in Chechnya? A report of the Committee Against Torture came at the disposal of The Insider, it contains information on abductions in the Chechen Republic. According to this report it appears that Ramzan Kadyrov’s close associates are directly involved in the abductions, and local law enforcement agencies are virtually sabotaging any work on search for the abducted and punishment of guilty persons.

Askhabov family. One son is killed, the other one is abducted.   

Abduction

On 12 November 2009 Denilbek and Tamara Askhabov applied to the Joint Mobile Group of Russian human rights defenders working in Chechnya (JMG), claiming that on the night of 4-5 August 2009 three armed men in masks and military camouflage uniforms arrived at the applicant’s home in Shali settlement and abducted their son Abdul-Yazit. The abductors used a Priora vehicle without license plates.

Version that law enforcement officers were involved in Askhabov’s abduction became of the main ones from the very start.

“I said I recognize my son and wish him “the Kingdom of Heaven”. Upon hearing these words the Head of the Shalinsky District Department of Interior hit me with a palm of his hand against my cheek, the other police officer hit me with a butt of his machine gun on the head”.

At first, on 28 May 2009 during detention Abdul-Yazit’s brother Yusup was killed. After that all the members of Askhabov family were subjected to full-scale prosecution by law enforcement authorities. That is how the head of the family Denilbek recalls this day: “On 28 May 2009 police officers came to my place and told me I had to go with them in order to identify my son Yusup Askhabov, since he was killed during detention. We came to the center of Shali. When we arrived at the culture centre I left the car and saw a vehicle with a lot of bullet holes. There were people standing nearby, and two corpses were lying near the front doors of the vehicle. One of them was my son Yusup. His body was covered with wounds, his clothes were blood-stained. I said that I identify my son and wished him “the Kingdom of Heaven”. Upon hearing these words the Head of the Shalinsky District Department of Interior hit me with a palm of his hand against my cheek, the other police officer hit me with a butt of his machine gun on the head, I passed out after this blow and fell on the ground”. It is worth noting that the Head of the Department of Interior at that time was none other than Mr.Daudov, better known in the Republic as “the Lord”.


After that the calamities of the Askhabov family were far from over. Denilbek continues: “In June 2009 Deputy Head of the District Department of the Interior, Head of the Criminal Investigation Department and several other police officers came to my place, who explained to me that my other sons need to attend the police in the end of each month and register, and also that we do not apply to any authority with request to investigate the circumstances of Yusup’s death”. But in August Abdul-Yazit was abducted.

Notably, in the afternoon of 4 August district police officer Kamaletdinov paid an unexpected visit, he was interested whether the Askhabov sons were at home. Another fact also indicates the involvement of law enforcement agencies in Abdul-Yazit abduction. Several days after he disappeared some unidentified police officers inspected a hideout in the house of the Askhabov family – only the abducted son could tell them about it. Typically, the police officers found the hideout without any preliminary search whatsoever. It means that the police officers knew exactly where to look for it. Apart from Abdul-Yazit only his mother knew about the hideout.

Denilbek shows the location where the hideout used to be

Response of the law-enforcement agencies

On the night of the abduction of the son the parents telephoned the district police officer Kadiyev. He himself confirmed it during the interrogation, adding that after this call he called his boss Soltagirayev and passed on the information. No operative response measures were taken based on the received report on the committed crime.

Only when on 9 August Tamara Askhabova came to the local subdivision of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (Shalinsky Interdistrict Investigative Department), the examination of the circumstances of her son’s disappearance started. In the following ten days a so called pre-investigation check was conducted, which significantly limits an investigator in his actions. It would seem that the elements of crime were obvious. However, investigator Baytayev inspected the incident scene (the Ashabov family household), questioned the members of Ashabov’s family (in spite of the fact that questioning within the scope of pre-investigation check and interrogation within the scope of a criminal case are absolutely different things), submitted a pile of inquiries and even received a certificate of the missing person’s family composition and his character reference.

Only on 19 August 2009 a criminal case based on the fact of Askhabov abduction was finally opened (No.72028). On 5 and 16 October investigator Bakayev submitted requests ordering to perform a whole range of special investigation activities for locating Askhabov to the address of the head of Shalinsky District Department of Interior Mr.Daudov. In his letter investigator asks: “reply to this request shall not be purely formal”.

Magomed Daudov (the Lord) and Ramzan Kadyrov

However, there was no reply at all, which is a severe violation of the law (part 4 of Article 21 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation). Due to total absence of reaction to his requests Bakayev drew up a corresponding report, and his boss Kouchin sent Mr.Daudov a letter asking to sort out his subordinates. In this document Kouchin complained that inaction of law enforcement agencies deprived the investigative bodies the ability to “plan and conduct investigative activities”. Only on 5 and 9 November investigator Bakayev received answers to his requests from the District Department of Interior. However, there was little of value there: the police said there was no information which would present any investigative interest, assured that “all necessary special investigation activities for this case are underway”. It is unclear what was meant with this phrase, since actual results of the District Department of Interior officers’ investigative activities were not present in the case materials, except for interrogation records of four Askhabov’s neighbours.

The complaint of the Askhabov’s family, filed at the Strasbourg Court

It is no surprise that having observed such attitude of law enforcement officers to the fate of her disappeared son, as well as to performing their professional duties, the Askhabov couple exhausted their patience and with the help of human rights defenders applied to the European Court of Human Rights (the ECHR). For some strange reason Strasbourg judges felt more concern in the fate of a Chechen guy that the civil servants of his own state, and the ECHR promptly posed clarifying questions for Russian Federation. In such situations in Chechnya criminal cases are transferred for further investigation to specifically established Section for Major Cases Investigation of Investigative Department of Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic, which is commonly named “Euro” section. That is where case No. 72028 was transferred to on 26 October.

On the very same day, 26 October, Deputy Head of Regional Investigative Department gave a number of written instructions on the case. At last, the activities which were proposed for implementation, started to resemble a more or less responsible approach to exposure of crime and search for Abdul-Yazit. Management instructions were characterized by clear and professional wording and indicated the necessity to check information on possible special-forces raid on the night when Askhabov was abducted, as well as the necessity to question certain individuals on specific circumstances.

Another seemingly obvious activity was indicated at – check for Askhabov in data bases “Opoznaniye” (Indentification) and “Rozysk-Magistral” (Detection in the trunk roads). Surprisingly, not a single investigator had done that previously. Deputy Head of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee demanded that the investigator reclaimed answers to previously submitted requests and instructions, and boosted the special investigative activities.

On 29 October investigator of “Euro” department Pashayev initiated proceedings and sent an inquiry to head of Shalinsky District Police Department Daudov-the Lord on whether his subordinates had Priora vehicles in use, as well as on search of owners of Mercedes and Priora vehicles (silver color). Mr.Daudov responded that his subordinates did not have silver color Priora vehicles at their disposal.

Pashayev also executed seizure of detainees registration book and questioned the District Department of Interior officers who were on duty on the night from 4 to 5 August 2009. All of the questioned officers stated that Askhabov was taken neither to the Temporary Containment Cell nor to the District Department of Interior.

It has to be noted that investigator Pashayev admitted Mobile Joint Group lawyers as representatives of the victims in the case. These lawyers rendered legal assistance to Askhabov family and conducted their own public inquiry.

Face-to-face confrontations between complainant Askhabova and two witnesses were conducted during this period. Both these investigative actions were performed after satisfying the motions of Joint Mobile Group lawyers. Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation Department of Shalinsky District Department of Interior and some other individuals were questioned as witnesses; incident site was visually inspected (hideout in Askhabov’s house).

On 4 February 2010 – again after human rights defenders’ motions – a seizure of documents was performed in Megafon company. Based on the results of the obtained documents study investigators developed a map of phone conversations, and then personal details of certain subscribers were obtained from Megafon company. Later on these subscribers were questioned as witnesses.

It would seem that wheels started rolling, but at this point investigator Pashayev faced an obstacle that he could not possibly overcome.

Kadyrov people

This regiment, the officers of which call themselves “kadyrovtsy” (Kadyrov people), and which officially is called a Regiment of Patrol-Guard Service of the Police No. 2 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chechen Republic named after Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov, started to appear in case since one of the men who came to Askhabov’s house a few days after the abduction of Abdul-Yazit was identified by Askhabov’s relative as the officer of 8-th squadron of this regiment. As we have already reported, law enforcement officers inspected a hideout in Askhabov’s house, and only Abdul-Yazit could tell the police about its location. Typically, the police officers located the hideout without any preliminary search whatsoever – they found it right away.

On 28 January 2010 investigator Pashayev sent a request to the head of this regiment asking to provide him with photographs of the regiment’s personnel for identification. No response came back, and the next two similar requests, submitted on 26 February and 9 March were left unanswered. In their turn, human rights defenders on 10 March 2010 filed a motion to conduct a face-to-face confrontation between Askhabovs and a key witness – the same district police officer named Kamaltdinov, who came to Askhabov’s place on the day of the abduction.

However, investigator did not produce any procedural decision on the case, he neither dismissed nor satisfied. It is quite understandable, since it was absurd to dismiss conducting an obvious activity. And if the motion is satisfied then face-to-face confrontation shall have to be conducted. According to Article 121 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation, “a motion, filed by a party in proceedings is subject to review and settlement directly after it is filed. In cases when immediate decision on a motion, filed in the course of pre-trial investigation, is not possible, it shall be settled no later than 3 days from the date of its submittal”.

However, finally on 19 March 2010, having failed to achieve execution of his own requests, settle a motion filed by human rights defenders and fulfill all the necessary investigative actions, investigator deliberately unfoundedly and unlawfully suspended the preliminary investigation.

Then the Prosecutor’s Office intervened. On 31 March 2010 Deputy Prosecutor of Chechnya Shavkuta demanded that the Regional Investigative Department rectifies the violations of the law. Mr.Shavkuta specified a significant list of unfulfilled investigative activities. “Seizure of photographs for identification has not been performed, Priora vehicle and its owner have not been found, face-to-face confrontation Askhabovs and Kamaltdinov has not been performed, not all subscribers who called the abducted have been established and questioned…”.

Inaction

The case was resumed, but failed to gain momentum. All of the requests to Shalinsky District Department of Interior asking to establish and check the subscribers indicated in call details against involvement in the committed crime were ignored. Meanwhile, the situation with the seizure of photographs of the Regiment of Patrol-Guard Service of the Police No. 2 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Chechen Republic named after Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov reached the level of the regional management of the Investgative Committee and the Ministry of Interior.

On 5 May 2010 investigator Pashayev filed a report to his management stating that on 9 April 2010 he went to the Police Patrol-Guard Service No.2 in order to perform seizure of photographs. There a vigilant personnel department employee who did not identify himself explained to the investigator that in accordance with the federal law on counter-terrorism he could not provide personal details, all the more – photos of the regiment staff, since some of them take part in counter-terrorism operations. At the same time he refused to provide his opinion to investigator in written form, having explained that he “did not have appropriate authority”. It goes without saying that this excuse is absurd, because the abovementioned law does not limit the authority of investigators who are guided by norms of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation regarding the participants of counter-terrorism operations.

On 11 May, after the investigation was suspended, investigator sent a request to the address of the Minister of Interior of Chechnya Mr.Alkhanov asking for access to Personnel Department of the Ministry of Interior for familiarization with personal details of regiment No.2 personnel and subsequent seizure of photographs. Pashayev made his request more “substantial” attaching an accompanying letter of Acting Head of Regional Investigative Department Mr.Sokolov, in which Mr.Sokolov in person asks to provide access to Personnel Department for the investigator. But it was to no avail either.

At this point the case had to be taken care of by the Investigative Committee which according to the law has to deal with procedural control. On 21 May 2010 the complainants’ representative sent a request there on resuming the pre-trial investigation and reclaiming photographs for conducting identification. The request was considered and on 1 June 2010 criminal case No.72028 was transferred from the procedural control department to the same “Euro” department. In accompanying letter Acting head of the Second Department of Procedural Control Mr. Butenko specified that the case is submitted for rectifying the drawbacks and conducting investigative activities, but did not resume criminal proceedings. And how it is possible to conduct investigative actions without criminal proceedings? The absurd correspondence lasted for 4 months — the Investigative Committee demanded investigative actions but not resuming the case. Apparently tired of this irrational mutually exclusive decisions on 30 August 2010 investigator of “Euro” department Idalov ordered resuming criminal proceedings, having prolonged the investigation period by 1 month.

The bottom line is the following: for almost four months the work on criminal case No.72028 was abandoned, precious time was lost, obviously unlawful and unfounded procedural decision remained unreversed. 

Later on criminal proceedings for case No.72028 were suspended and (after complaints of human rights defenders) resumed several times. As a consequence of this state of affairs in the course of time the possibility to investigate this crime unavoidably and rather rapidly was coming to naught.

The European Court

In April 2013 the European Court of Human Rights, the jurisdiction of which involves Russia, issued a ruling in the case “Askhabova against Russia”, in which it established that state authorities failed to perform efficient investigation of circumstances of disappearance of Abdul-Yazit Askhabov, and awarded a compensation of 60 000 euro to relatives of the abducted. Abdul-Yazit was never to be found. None of investigators and police officers were punished, many of them even got promoted.

For example, Magomed Daudov (“the Lord”), who at that time headed Shalinshky District Department of Interior and was involved in the episode with detention and battery of Askhabov the elder, is now the head of Administration and Government of the Chechen Republic, and de facto – the second man in Chechnya.

Ibragimov family. The house is burned down, the son is abducted

Abduction

In December 2009 Raisa Turluyeva and her brother Adnan Ibragimov applied to human rights defenders group, working in the Chechen Republic (Joint Mobile Group) and reported Raisa’s 19-year-old son Said-Salekh Ibragimov missing.

According to the applicants, on 21 October 2009 a firefight between the law-enforcement officers and three persons belonging to illegal armed groups took place on the territory of household No.117 in Ganchayev street of Goyty settlement of Urus-Martan District of the Chechen Republic. In the course of the above-mentioned firefight and subsequent fire the residential facilities of the household were burnt down. Raisa and Adnan stated that the house was arsoned by law enforcement officers after the firefight ended. Materials, gathered by JMG lawyers, including video records and witnesses’ statements, confirmed this.

In addition the applicants reported that on the same say the officers of the special police regiment of the Extradepartmental Protection Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic for Chechnya oil field sites protection (“oil regiment”) detained Said-Salekh, who in the morning of that day went to the Oil Institute in Grozny to study and in the afternoon was detained in town. It would seem strange that Extradepartmental Service performs detentions.. But it’s not that simple. That is how Igor Kalyapin describes this regiment in his article “Caucasian greyhounds”: “There are units in Chechnya which are supposed to protect oil field sites and pipelines. But there are very few sites of this type in Chechnya — once immense infrastructure of oil processing was virtually destroyed during the war. That’s why these units are busy with God knows what: it is a whole army of a rather peculiar sort, dressed in black uniform, which is not provided for by any military regulations. Their commander is Sharip Delimkhanov, a brother of Adam Delimkhanov”. It is worth noting that Adam Delimkhanov is the right hand of Ramzan Kadyrov. In 2009 Adam Delimkhanov was even on the Interpol’s wanted list for suspicion of involvement in murder of Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai.

Lawyers of JMG established that on 21 October 2009 S.-S.A.Ibragimov was detained and taken by the oil regiment officers to the administrative building of the regiment located in Grozny. Adnan Abdullayevich Ibragimov (uncle of Said-Salekh) was taken to the same premises, he saw S.-S.A.Ibragimov and talked to him. According to A.A.Ibragimov at that time a lot of oil regiment officers were present in the room, who were voicing their grievances against S.-S.A.Ibragimov and threatened to kill him as blood revenge in connection with the death of their colleague during the firefight at the place of residence of S.-S.A.Ibragimov. After interrogation A.A.Ibragimov was released, and his nephew S.-S.A.Ibragimov was left on the territory of the regiment. The fate which befell the young man is unknown to this day.

 

Application to investigative agencies and pre-investigation check

On2 December 2009 Raisa Turluyeva applied to investigative authorities with a statement about her son’s detainment and absence of information about his location. Before that she tried to obtain information about her son’s fate through her acquaintances and relatives, without resorting to official statement. Only after five days, on 7 December, the statement was registered in the Territorial Subdivision of the Investigative Committee – in Achkhoy Martan Interdistrict Investigative Department (hereinafter – IID).
On the same day Deputy Head of IID Mr.Alyamkin issued written instructions on conducting a number of verification activities, which included:

— visual inspection of the burnt household;

— requesting different data on the missing person;

— sending inquiries to different law enforcement bodies of Chechnya on whether Ibragimov conducted any unlawful actions;

— sending inquiries to Temporary Detention Cells and medical establishments to check whether the young man was there;

— questioning relatives, neighbors and acquaintances of the missing person;

— checking the missing person in all the records and databases.

“Police officers accused him and members of his family of covering-up for terrorists, and informed him that according to blood revenge laws he and his family had to be held liable for the death of the police officer who took part in the special-forces raid”.

Investigator Abdulkhadzhiyev commenced investigating. Firstly he received characterizing personal material on Said-Salekh and questioned his uncle. Andan Ibragimov told about the circumstances of the firefight in his house and how he was taken to the “oil regiment” premises where he saw his nephew for the last time. According to Ibragimov, apart from himself and his nephew, among others there was Sherip Delimhkanov – regiment’s commander. As Andan told the investigator, police officers accused him and members of his family of covering-up for terrorists, and informed him that according to blood revenge laws he and his family had to be held liable for the death of the police officer who took part in the special-forces raid.

The investigator performed visual inspection of the incident site – regiment’s premises – with participation of Adnan Ibragimov. He also sent to the regiment’s commander a request to confirm that the young man was detained and taken to the territory of the oil regiment. On 14 December 2009 Adnan Ibragimov was summoned to appear at the oil regiment. Ibragimov went there with his representative – JMG lawyer Mikhail Shulayev. In the premises of the oil regiment they had a rather tense conversation with the regiment’s commander Sherip Delimhkanov. The latter accused Adnan of defamation using mass media and told him that on the night in question his subordinates released Said-Salekh, and they had nothing to do with the fact that he disappeared later on. As a result the conversation ended in nothing; Adnan and Mikhail Shulayev left the territory of the regiment. However, the concerns for safety of the key witness, Said-Salelkh’s uncle, were so serious, that JMG members decided to spend several nights in Ibragimov’s house for his peace of mind.

Meanwhile, on 23 December 2009 investigator Abdulkhadzhiyev issued a decree on transferring the case materials according to the judicial authority to Leninsky Interdistrict Investigative Department in Grozny (“due to the regiment’s dislocation” in this area). And only on 28 December Senior Investigator of Leninsky Interdistrict Investigative Department Murtazov at last opened a criminal case (No. 66102).

A Criminal Case

On the day of opening the criminal case Deputy Head of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Chechen Republic (hereinafter – IDIC), Mr.Pashayev transferred the case Major Cases Investigation Department No.2 (in Chechnya it is nicknamed “Euro-department”) due to the fact that Said-Salekh’s relatives without any delay applied to the European Court of Human Rights with a complaint.

Investigator Madayev commenced investigating the case. However, despite his management’s instructions, he never reclaimed call details of the missing young man, neither did he inspected the household of the Ibgragimov family. It is no surprise that on 26 January 2010 the head of “Euro-department” Tereshshenko in person issued further written instructions and, at last, on 2 February 2010 investigator Madayev pronounced Raisa Turluyeva the affected party in the case and questioned her. It is worth noting that the investigator did not want to put the testimony of the woman to record on the grounds that both of them could be in big trouble over this. However, representative of Turluyeva JMG lawyer Mikhail Shulayev insisted on putting the evidence in the minutes.

On 12 March the investigator once again called in for questioning two high-ranking police officers: head of Urus Martan District Department of Interior Jamalkhanov and “oil regiment” commander Delimkhanov. Jamalkhanov did not appear in the time, specified by the investigator, then Madayev himself paid a visit to Jamalkhanov. However, Jamalkhanov was not at his working place, Madayev drew up a report on this. And “oil regiment” commander answered with a letter, humiliating in its essence, signed by himself, in which it is literally specified that “appearance of Delimkhanov is provided”.

Adam Delimkhanov and Ramzan Kadyrov

All the investigative activities were performed in a laidback manner, to put it mildly. For example, only 4 months after the corresponding instruction of the management on conducting investigative activity the investigator at last received call details for one of the telephone numbers which the investigation took interest in. Call details of other two numbers, which were of interest for the investigation, were obtained 2 more months later, in the end of June.

In the end of May the “big guns” intervened in the situation. Deputy Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic Mr.Shavkuta issued an order addressing the Chechen IDIC with a demand to rectify the violations in the course of the case investigation. The prosecutor specified that: “It is established that Internal Protection Directorate police regiment officers, who are assigned to protect oil products and oil wells, questioned Said-Salekh Ibragimov, i.e. performed special investigation activity, which was not formalized according to the procedure, and the young man was not transferred to Urus Martan District investigative authorities according to the scene of crime location. Nevertheless, legal evaluation of the regiment’s officers actions according to Articles 293, 286 of the Criminal Code of RF was not performed”. In addition, the prosecutor pointed at failure to take practical measures for solution of crime. Head of the “Euro-department” Tereshcenko came with a formal reply: “the investigator gave written order to rectify the violations”.

Only after the letter addressed to the Minister of Interior for the Chechen Republic Ruslan Alkhanov dated 23 July 2010 the investigator at last managed to question “oil regiment” officers Delimkhanov and Abdureshidov, although in order to do that he had to go to their place of work.

The case was suspended and resumed several times, investigators were changed, but “oil regiment” officers kept failing to appear when called and ignoring all the requests of the investigation.

Conducting face-to-face confrontation between Ibragimov and Delimkhanov was not authorized, refusal to perform this activity was quashed by the court decision, but face-to-face confrontation never happened. The fact is that after all the calamities related to investigators trying to conduct this investigative activity, one of the claimants of this case, Adnan Ibragimov, refused to take part in face-to-face confrontation and in further investigation of the case in general, and declined JMG lawyers support. Being of weak health and having underwent heart surgery, the man failed to withstand the emotional stress related to work on this case.

The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, declaring the Russian Federation guilty in violation of the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, became the logical result of this situation. In its ruling on 20 June 2013 the European Court held that in this case the state authorities failed to conduct efficient investigation of the circumstances of Ibragimov’s disappearance, violated Articles 2 (“the right to life”), 5 (“the right to freedom”) regarding Ibragimov, as well as Article 3 (“the prohibiton against inhuman treatment”) regarding his mother and applicant Turluyeva. Raisa was awarded a compensation in amount of 60 000 euro. Said-Salekh has not been found to the present day.

Suleymanov family

Abduction

On 8 August 2011 Doka Suleymanov from Grozny applied to Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders working in the Chechen Republic (JMG) and reported that his son Tamerlan was abducted by unidentified law enforcement officers on 9 May 2011 from his working place. The young man worked at a car service center “Mustang” located in Kirova avenue in Grozny.

In the course of performed public inquiry JMG lawyers established that on 7 May 2011 Suleymanov was at the car service center “Mustang”. During his lunch break he went out to the nearby cafe and was about to have his lunch. At this moment an unknown man came inside and asked for Tamerlan. The young man went outside and left with this man in a car where another man in civilian clothes was sitting. Suleymanov’s brother Andarbek observed this happening.

In about 4 hours Tamerlan was set free to go home. As it turned out later he had been taken by officers of the Staropromyslovsky District Department of Internal Affairs of Grozny, who wanted to obtain some data about the planned terrorist act. In addition, Suleymanov’s wife reported that the objective of Tamerlan’s detention was to find out the scope of persons who were planning the terrorist act on the day of the opening of “Akhmat-Arena” sports complex on 11 May 2011.

Despite feeling bad due to the battery, on 9 May 2011 Suleymanov went to work and on the same day he was abducted by unidentified persons.

Tamerlan, who stood behind the wheels balancing unit, responded to greeting, then one of the arrived persons hit him in the face. The young man passed out after this blow.

The circumstances of the events are known to us based on witnesses testimony. Two vehicles VAZ Priora came to the car service center “Mustang” (their state license plate are recorded by the witnesses: Е423ЕЕ95 and 991АА/05). There were 8 people in these cars, dressed in black military uniform, armed with pistols and machine guns. They entered the premises of the car service center and called for Suleymanov. Tamerlan, who stood behind the wheels balancing unit, responded to greeting, then one of the arrived persons hit him in the face. The young man passed out after this blow. His maternal cousin Mamed Khasayev, who worked in the same premises with Tamerlan, attempted to intervene, but was stopped by the attackers. Two workers of the car service center “Mustang” who came up to ask what was going on were beaten up as well.

Unidentified persons got Tamerlan inside one of the vehicles and took him away. Suleymanov’s relatives haven’t heard anything about his fate ever since. They applied to different state authorities, but nowhere could they obtain any information on Tamerlan’s whereabouts.

Application to state authorities

Doka Suleymanov applied to the Prosecutor’s Office of Oktyabrsky District of Grozny based on the fact of his son’s abduction on 10 May 2011. From the Procesutor’s Office Suleymanov’s complaint was transferred to appropriate structural subdivision of the Investigative Committee – to Zavodsky Interdistrict Investigative Department (IID) – to arrange a check. On 10 and 11 May 2011 investigator Isayev filed requests and instructions to different territorial internal affairs bodies as well as to medical establishments. In the response from the Department of State Traffic Safety Inspectorate dated 18 May 2011 it was specified that as of that date the state license place “Е423ЕЕ95”, previously assigned to Toyota Camri made in 2008, had been replaced due to its loss and was on search list as lost specialty product since 5 April 2010; according to Department of State Traffic Safety Inspectorate database license plate 991АА/05 was not assigned for LADA PRIORA. In relation to second license plate the investigator was recommended to request the Department of State Traffic Safety Inspectorate for Dagestan Republic.

On 18 May 2011 investigator Isayev initiated criminal case No. 49012 based on Articles 126 of the Criminal Code of RF (abduction).

As in two previous cases described by The Insider, the victim’s relatives filed an appropriate prompt complaint to the European Court of Human Rights and the ECHR commenced examining it, that’s why the investigation is conducted by the “Euro-department”.

On 6 July 2011 a notification on executed work was delivered to the Investigative Committee from the police department No.2. Based on the results of work some characterizing material was gathered on Suleymanov, he was checked in different records and data bases. Tamerlan was described favorably and there was no evidence of his involvement in illegal armed groups.

On 18 June the investigator questioned Andarbek Suleymanov as a witness (Tamerlan’s brother), who told about circumstances of Tamerlan’s abduction on 9 May 2011 as well as of his detention two days before, which were known to him. On the same day, on 18 June, the investigator questioned as witnesses the car service center “Mustang” employees Khasayev, Yakubov, Lorsanov. One of the questions which the investigator posed to Yakubov, related to the video surveillance camera installed at the entrance to the service center. As can be seen from the above, as early as on 18 June the investigator was aware of the video camera presence. Nevertheless, he didn’t do anything to arrange seizure and viewing this video record.

Security officials

On 23 June 2011 the investigator questioned the Head of Criminal Investigations Department of Police Department No.4 Mr. Magomadov, who admitted that on 7 May 2011 Police Department No.4 officers detained Tamerlan Suleymanov. According to his evidence, after a short conversation of Deputy Head of Police Department No.4 Magomed Mamayev with Suleymanov the latter was taken back to “Mustang” car service center.

On 13 July 2011 Doka Suleymanov submitted a statement to the Prosecutor’s Office, in which he claimed that according to unconfirmed information his son is kept in Kurchaloyevsky District Police Department in Yalkoy Mohk settlement. As early as on 16 June Deputy Head of the Third Department Anikeyeva in her instructions on the case pointed out the necessity to check the information, containing in the complaint filed to the ECHR, on detention of Suleymanov in Kurchaloyevsky District Police Department. However, nothing was done. The investigator reached this Police Department only in 3 months time, on 6 August. He questioned three officers of District Department of Interior as witnesses, having shown them Suleymanov’s photograph for identification, Witnesses did not recognized Tamerlan and denied the fact of his detention. On the same day investigator Idalov sent a letter to Doka Suleymanov, who is the affected party, in which he notified him that in the course of personal inspection of the territory and service premises of Kurchaloyevsky District Police Department Suleymanov was not found. The investigator failed to find the record from the video surveillance cameras, although they were present at the scene of the abduction.

On 24 November 2011 Head of Police Department No.2 received instruction to establish police and military officers, and “Sever” battalion officers who were involved in opening of the stadium named after Kadyrov on 9 May 2011, and provide for their appearance. The instruction was plainly ignored, “Sever” battalion, as it happens, “failed to establish” which officers were involved in this operation.

Later on criminal proceedings of case No. 49012 were repeatedly suspended and resumed, last time on 15 December 2013. At the same time the investigators did everything in their power to exclude the Joint Mobile Group lawyers from the process. Due to inefficiency of the conducted investigation the representatives of Suleymanov, who is the affected party, submitted requests to the management of the investigative authorities asking to transfer criminal case No. 49012 for further investigation to Chief Investigatory Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the North Caucasian Federal District. However, no such decision was made.

The European Court

On 22 January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling on the case “Suleymanov against Russia” (complaint No.32501/11). The court did not find evidence of violation of Articles 3 (“The prohibition of torture”) and 5 (“The right to security of person”) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms due to the fact that involvement of state authorities in acts of violence and abduction of Tamerlan Suleymanov was not proven. However, at the same time the court established the fact of violating Article 3 of the European Convention due to the fact that the investigation, performed by the Investigative Committee, was inefficient (p. 150 of the ruling). Suleymanov has not been found to this day, his fate remains unknown.

Source: The Insider