Investigators in Ingushetia did not perform pre-investigative check with regard to their colleague concerning the forgery possibly committed by him in the torture case. The crime report was not registered as such, but was reviewed like a common complaint, and, as a result, nothing illegal was detected in the actions of the investigator.
As we have previously reported, 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 comply 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 vehicle, 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 I 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 2017, 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.
Subsequently, on 10 September 2018, Albert Khamkhoev was sentenced by the Nazran District Court of the Republic of Ingushetia to one and a half years of conditional prison term. On 13 November 2018 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ingushetia changed this verdict and imposed punishment in the form of imprisonment for the same period of time, having decided that the sentence shall be considered served taking into account the time spent at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility and under house arrest.
Due to Albert’s complaint about torture, 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 criminal proceedings against unidentified police officers regarding the crime under item “a” Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“abuse of office with the use of violence”).
On 6 June 2018, the first suspect appeared in the case – Andrey Ovada, officer of the regional counter-extremism center, who was the senior investigative officer at the time when the crime was committed.
After the investigative authorities suspended the investigation of this case for the eighth time due to impossibility of suspect Andrey Ovada’s involvement in it, and the investigator dismissed a motion on selecting a measure of restraint for him, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted a complaint to the Magas District Court.
During one of the court hearings in July of this year, investigator Magomed-Amin Shadyzhev provided the court with documents from last year, which had been previously missing in the case materials, which establish that back on 26 October 2019 all suspicions were lifted from Andrey Ovada and he became a witness in the criminal case on tortures. Also, an adjusted version of the ruling on suspending the investigation dated 27 October 2019 appeared in the case: if previously it was suspended because suspect Ovada could not participate in the case, now the reason was that the case did not have a suspect, altogether.
Having deemed that the investigator had committed a forgery, on 20 July 2020, human rights defenders applied with a crime report to the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Republic of Ingushetia. However, the duty investigator refused to register this crime report, but accepted it as a common application, for which it is not necessary even to start a pre-investigative check, let alone to open a criminal case.
Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov complained about it to the superiors of the republican Investigative Committee as well as to the Prosecutor’s Office of Ingushetia.
On 7 August 2020, a response from the republican Investigative Department came. Head of the Procedural Control Department Mr Galayev informed that “the crime report dated 20 July lacked sufficient data on the circumstances that would indicate at the elements of crime”, that is why, in his opinion, the refusal to register the crime report is lawful.
On 10 August, almost identical response came from the Prosecutor’s Office, as well.
“As it turned out, we were worried about the violation of the crime report registration procedure for a reason, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov comments. – In the republican Investigative Department it was considered a common complaint against investigator Magomed-Amin Shadyzhev’s actions and submitted it for examination to the investigative department for Nazran’, where he works. Last week, we received a response signed by Acting Head of this department, Mr Adam Mohushkov, where he stated that nothing illegal was detected in the actions of the investigator”.
According to Alamov, human rights defenders will continue to insist not only on pre-investigative check with regard to the fact of the forgery, but also on declaring the previous refusals to perform such a check to be illegal.