–EUROPEAN ANTI-TORTURE OFFICIAL CONCERNED ABOUT CHECHNYA
The head of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Torture Committee, Mauro Palma, criticized conditions at a detention facility in Chechnya during talks with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov in Grozny, Interfax reported on September 10. Palma said it was his second visit to Chechnya over the past few months and that, as on his previous trip, he had heard many complaints that law-enforcement bodies had resorted to violence, including severe forms of violence that could be qualified as torture. Palma said that most of the written complaints dealt with the Search Operations Bureau ORB-2 and its division in the Urus-Martan district, but added that prosecutor’s offices had increased oversight over the ORB-2 service and launched probes into cases of cruel treatment of detainees. He said, however, that these measures alone were insufficient. According to Interfax, President Alkhanov asked Chechnya’s chief prosecutor, Valery Kuznetsov, “to probe all of the cited instances and prevent illegal detentions and the keeping of detainees in unauthorized places.” Kuznetsov, however, told reporters after the meeting that Palma’s conclusions concerning ORB-2 were “somewhat tendentious,” given that his delegation had not conducted any new checks of ORB-2 and that his charges therefore did not concern any new abuses.
–POLICE OFFICIAL MURDERED IN KABARDINO-BALKARIA
The chief of police of Kabardino-Balkaria’s Chereksky district, Col. Mustafa Konakov, died in the hospital on September 14 as a result of gunshot wounds he received earlier in the day. According to Regions.ru, Konakov’s car was fired on with automatic weapons near the village of Gerpegezh as he was traveling to his office in the Chereksky district center of Kaskhatau. Konakov was hit in the head, stomach and leg. On September 4, a bomb went off near a car in which border guards were traveling in Kabardino-Balkaria, but no one was hurt.