Urgent Action Request
A mobile group of human rights defenders who is in Chechnya now, founded by Nizhny Novgorod Commitee against Torture reported the situation of disappeared Said Salekh Ibragimov, a Chechen civilian; the Commitee against Torture and Amnesty International are asking to send urgent letters to whatever Russian authorities as fast as possible.
The letter of Amnesty International:
The lives of Adnan Ibragimov, a 54-year-old man from Chechnya, and his family are in danger after he began pursuing a criminal investigation into the apparent enforced disappearance of his nephew, Said Salekh Ibragimov.
On the morning of 21 October, 19-year old Said Salekh Ibragimov left his home in the village of Goity in Urus-Martan district, to go to the nearby city of Grozny, the Chechen capital. At around 2.00 pm, security forces personnel, believed to be soldiers and police officers, raided and searched his house. Said-Salekh Ibragimov’s wife and his 80- year old disabled grandmother were in the house at the time. Alerted by other family members, Adnan Ibragimov came to the house from his home in Grozny. Police arrested him and Said Salekh Ibragimov’s mother, accusing them of helping members of illegal armed groups. Police showed them the dead body of an alleged insurgent who, according to the police, had been hiding in their house. Adnan Ibragimov and Said Salekh Ibragimov’s mother claimed that they knew nothing about it. The two were taken to Urus-Martan district police station where they were questioned, before being released several hours later. The house where Said Salekh Ibragimov lived with his family was burnt down. Villagers alleged that the house started burning when local police officers were nearby.
Later that day, police officers telephoned Adnan Ibragimov, demanding that he return to the police station. When he arrived there, he was taken to the headquarters of one of the police battalions in Grozny, where officers showed him Said Salekh Ibragimov. According to Adnan Ibragimov’s testimony, his nephew had been badly beaten. The police told Adnan Ibragimov that his nephew had been welcoming terrorists into the family home and that his family should disown him. The officers said that Said Salekh Ibragimov should be killed to avenge the death of security forces personnel who were allegedly killed in the raid on the family home. The police then took Said Salekh Ibragimov away. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Adnan Ibragimov asked the local Public Prosecutor’s office to investigate the apparent enforced disappearance. According to Adnan Ibragimov, the official investigating the case warned him that he was putting himself and his family at risk by pursuing the investigation. The official initially refused to include information about circumstances of his nephew’s enforced disappearance in his report. Sources in Grozny believe that the investigation is unlikely to be thorough and impartial.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Russian, English or your own language:
*Calling on the authorities to take immediate action to protect Adnan Ibragimov and his family, including enrolling them on a witness protection scheme;
*Calling for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the arrest, ill-treatment and possible enforced disappearance of Said Salekh Ibragimov, with all those responsible brought to justice;
*Urging the authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the alleged burning down by police officers of Said Salekh Ibragimov’s house.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 JANUARY 2010 TO:
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yurii Ya. Chaika
Ul.Bolshaia Dmitrovka, 15a
125993 Russian Federation
Fax: +7 4956 9217 25
Minister of the Interior of the Russian Federation
Ul. Zhitnaia, 16
119049 Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 605 52 43
And copies to:
President of the Russian Federation
ul. Ilyinka, 23
Fax +7 495 9102134
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of the Russian Federation accredited to your country.
Additional Information by Amnesty International:
On 16 April 2009 the Russian authorities declared an end to the counter-terrorism operation in Chechnya. However, serious human rights violations continue to be committed in a climate of impunity in Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus. The civilian population continues to live in an atmosphere of lawlessness that engenders fear and insecurity. Armed opposition groups in the region continue to mount attacks. Law enforcement officials conduct counter-terrorism measures which, in many instances, entail serious human rights violations. A legitimate aim that of tackling violence by armed groups and bringing stability to the North Caucasus is still being pursued by means which violate international human rights law.
Relatives of those suspected of being members of armed groups are pressured to persuade their family members to lay down their arms, and in some cases to go and search for them (“in the mountains” or “in the forests¨) to bring them back. Reportedly, the pressure has included intimidation, arbitrary detention, forced evictions and destruction of houses. In August 2008, pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadirov announced on television that “those families whose relatives are in the forest are accomplices in crime. They are terrorists, extremists¨. There have been reports of the family homes of those who have joined armed groups being burned down.
The Statement of the Nizhny Novgorod Commitee against Torture:
The name of the applicant we are trying to help is Adnan Ibragimov (Male, 54).
The case is concerning kidnapping of the applicant’s nephew Said Salekh Ibragimov (Male, 19). The incident took place in Goity village and in Grozny. The house where Said lived in Goity was destroyed during anti-terrorist operation and he was arrested on October 21, 2009. The last person who saw Said-Salekh was Medni Ibragimova – Said’s cousin – when she left the applicant’s house at about 3 p.m. on October 21, 2009. Said Salekh took a taxi. His mother Raisa Turlueva saw Said Salekh on October 21, 2009 in the morning when he left for Oil Institute in Grozny. After Said Salekh left in the morning, at about 2.00 p.m. the house was burnt by the military.
On the same day the applicant and Said’s mother were arrested and released several hour later. At the same day later the applicants was brought to the office of non-departmental security service of Checheh Ministry of Internal where he was asked to abandon Said Salekh, but the applicant refused to. The applicants was told that Said Salekh was welcoming terrorists at his house, but he is sure it is not true. The officer showed the applicant his nephew – he was severely beaten and in shock. The officers informed the applicant that since he is the older man in the family since that day he has responsibility for the dear officers who were killed during the mentioned operation, despite the fact that no one from his family was in any way rebelling when the houses were searched and burnt. The officer also said that Said Salekh should be killed as a revenge for the death of the officers. The Said Salekh was taken away and nobody saw him since that moment until now.
On the same day the applicant found out that the people who burnt the house down were serving in OMON troops, battalion SEVER and in Urus-Martan police department .
On December 9, the applicants Adnan Ibragimov was questioned by the investigator of Interregional Investigational Department in Grozny and he provided the investigator with all information about the case. The investigator warned Mr. Ibragimov about the danger he causes to himself and his family and decided to examine the scene of actio, but wasn’t sure that he would be allowed in.
When the investigation on the case became official Mr. Ibragimov’s life and security of his family members are under real danger now after he has expressed his will to deal with the case officially and we concede that he may be kidnapped or murdered any time starting from today.
Mr. Ibragimov, feeling and understanding the level of danger, is going to make a written statement today where he will tell about the incident with his nephew and the position of authorities. Commission on Chechnya will be disseminating the statement as soon as receives it, since it is the only possibility to guarantee Mr. Ibragimov a minimum level of protection. The copy of the statement will be sent to you ASAP today. We call you up not to leave this information without attention and help us to disseminate it in mass media among political and legal sections of the embassies, to participate in public actions organized on the case.