Dosh Journalists Explained the Story of Their Kidnapping
Israpil Shovkhalov, editor-in-chief and Abdulla Duduev, chief-editor, of the Chechen independent magazine “Dosh”, detained by unknown power agents in Ingushetia, told the details of the incident which was happened on March 9.
In his comment on the conversation with power agents, who detained them, Mr Shovkhalov said: “Abdulla was rude talking to them, while I, being of senior age and knowing what the consequences may be and recollecting Natalya Estemirova, tried to speak kindly. I told them that we had arrived to help them and make a truthful report.”
According to his story, he had thought that these were people of the head of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Evkurov and told them about the pre-planned meeting with the President, but we saw that it “was all the same for them.”
“When I told them about Evkurov, they told me that only Allah could help, I understood that these people had nothing to do with Evkurov,” Israpil Shovkhalov told the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent.
He also said that the one in the car had a sports cap on his head with opening for eyes, which could be used as a mask. When Shovkhalov asked to show an ID, the man quickly showed the document. “I saw a Russian flag, a photo; it looked like a usual ID of a power agent, but he gave me no time to read it,” said Israpil.
According to his story, these agents spoke the Ingush language among themselves.
“However, they presented no claims to us, their car was without number plates, and we told them that we should go nowhere. Unexpectedly, we decided for ourselves that we should stay in place. If anything should happen, let it happen there. Then, they behaved rudely and started to abuse us: ‘Why the hell have you come here? Whose order are you performing? Who do you work on?’ and similar stuff of their usual rhetoric. Then, they said that they knew who financed us and so on, it all lasted for rather long,” said Duduev.
When they were stopped, Shovkhalov began dialling the phone number of Magomed Mutsolgov, with whom they had been before, but he occasionally dialled the number of the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent, who had been one of the last persons with whom he had talked. “And when he started speaking, one of the agents struck Israpil’s hand to knock the phone out; Israpil dropped the phone, it fell and lost its battery. Immediately I was also ordered to switch off my phone. We obeyed, as the attackers were armed,” said Duduev.
Some time after the incident, the FZG correspondent called Vakha Chapanov, head of Ingush News Agency “Maximum”, and asked for help in searching information about detention the magazine leaders as the telephone of the press secretary of the MIA of Ingushetia Madina Khadzieva would not.
According to Ms Khadzieva (as reported by Mr Chapanov – comment of the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent), “there was nothing special, just their documents were checked; they shouldn’t make such a noise in the media; they’re already set free.” She has added that Shovkhalov’s telephone did not answer “as he had dropped it into the mud.”
“What the Ingush authorities say – I don’t know. But there’s great noise. Lyudmila Alekseeva (chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, – comment of the “Kavkaz-Uzel”), for example, immediately started calling President Evkurov. And it helped us,” Abdulla Duduev said in his conversation with the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent.
“When the second car arrived, they talked among themselves for some time. Then, one of those who talked to us earlier said: “You’re lucky this time.” And they left.
According to Israpil Shovkhalov, the unidentified power agents who had detained them indeed thought at first that he was an employee of foreign media. “The one who spoke to me thought that I was a foreigner – from Europe or somewhere. I was in a cap unusual for those places, and had a scarf round my neck – naturally, they took me for a foreigner by my clothes,” he recollects.
Until now, according to Israpil Shovkhalov, despite different statements in media, nobody from law enforcement bodies has addressed journalists to take explanations: “We had a meeting with President Evkurov who asked us about the episode and said that, most probably, these were people from aside.”
“He said that many incidents are undertaken against him either. There are even whole opposing groupings. I understood that he meant both ‘Zyazikov’s people’ and others. He said that there are lots of forces in the republic interested of his personal discredit,” Israpil Shovkhalov told the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent about his conversation with the President of Ingushetia.
However, according to Madina Khadzieva, head of the press service of the MIA on the Republic of Ingushetia, what had happened with Chechen journalists hardly can be regarded as an incident: “Israpil said that he was strongly frightened, but there were no violent or rude actions as applied to them.”
Madina Khadzieva told the “Kavkaz-Uzel” correspondent that currently the MIA top managers try to establish the cars and the people. “There were no grounds to inflate it so great. It’s just journalists’ PR. However, they filed no applications to the militia. Nevertheless, my bosses asked to find out everything; I found the journalists’ telephone numbers and called them up,” she said. “But if it really was a kidnapping attempt, they should have filed an application,” Madina Khadzieva has added.