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Russia: Welcome to Hell – Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya

Submitted by on Tuesday, 12 May 2009.    2,261 views No Comment
Russia: Welcome to Hell – Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya

Russia: Welcome to Hell – Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Extortion in Chechnya
Writer: Human Rights Watch
Publisher: Human Rights Watch (19 Jan 2001)
ISBN-10: 156432253X
ISBN-13: 978-1564322531
99 pages

This report details the cycle of torture and extortion faced by thousands of Chechens whom Russian forces have detained in Chechnya. The rights group called on European states to file a case against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights, for these and other abuses during the war in Chechnya. The 99-page report, entitled “Welcome to Hell,” describes how Russian troops have detained thousands of Chechens on suspicion of collaboration with rebel fighters. Many of them were detained arbitarily, with no evidence of wrongdoing. Guards at detention centers systematically beat Chechen detainees, some of whom have also been raped or subjected to other forms of torture. Most were released only after their families managed to pay large bribes to Russian officials. Russian authorities have launched no credible and transparent effort to investigate these abuses and bring the perpetrators to justice. “Welcome to hell” is how guards at the Chernokozovo detention facility would greet detainees, before forcing them to undergo a hail of blows by baton-wielding guards. Chechens who do not have proper identity papers, who share a surname with a Chechen commander, who are thought to have relatives who are fighters, or who simply “look” like fighters, continue to be detained and abused on a daily basis in their communities or at Chechnya’s hundreds of checkpoints. Many “disappear” for months as Russian officials keep them in incommunicado detention. Some are eventually released when relatives pay a bribe. Others never come back.

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