Yesterday, on 7 May 2019, in Ingushetia, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov and Evgeny Chilikov were actually detained for an hour by officers from several law-enforcement agencies. Human rights defenders together with freelance cameraman Leonid Utkin were busy shooting a footage on operation of the North Caucasus branch of the organization. Chairman of the Council under Russia’s President on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov promptly intervened in the incident and reported to Ingushetia’s head Yunus Bek-Evkurov about it.
Yesterday, Evgeny Chilikov together with his colleagues worked on a video footage on tortures of the applicant of the Committee Against Torture Albert Khamkhoev. Their plans involved shooting the old building of the Counter Extremism Center of the Ministry of the Interior of Ingushetia, where, according to Khamkhoev, physical force was illegally applied against him. Human rights defenders failed to perform what they planned, because as soon as the video camera could be seen, 10 armed people (some of them were wearing uniform) ran out of the adjacent building. They surrounded the vehicle and demanded that human rights defenders came outside.
That’s how Evgeny describes the situation: “We blocked the doors and started to talk with them through the half-opened window from the driver’s side. They started to shout at us, ask questions, why we were shooting. We started to explain that the building which we were shooting is located in a public place and we do not see any reason for not shooting it. In addition, we explained that we did not even have time to shoot it. They informed that they called for the internal security officers and now we will be taken inside the building”.
Chairman of the Council under Russia’s President on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov was informed about the developed situation, he contacted Ingushetia’s head Yunus Bek-Evkurov and told him about what happened and asked to sort out the incident.
In several minutes’ time a man came up to the vehicle, he showed the ID of the head of the operational investigations section in charge of security of the persons covered by the state protection of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Ingushetia. He collected the passports of human rights defenders for checking and returned them 15 minutes later after persistent demands.
At the same time the status of our colleagues remained unclear. They were told that Maromed Alamov has 10 unpaid fines for traffic regulations breaches and it was necessary to wait for the traffic police. Later on, the traffic police officers said they mixed up Magomed with a person who’s name differs by one letter. When the law-enforcement officers did not have formal excuses for detaining human rights defenders, they were permitted to leave.
“After some time head of the operational investigations section came over and asked if we had any complaints. We responded that we were not in the best position to express complaints, and he said, “You are doing your work, and we are doing ours”, – Evgeny Chilikov recalls.
Later on, human rights defenders managed to leave the territory of Ingushetia without obstacles.