Fsb Kidnapping Operation Documented

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 29

Apparently for the first time, an official of Ingushetia’s Prosecutor’s Office has specifically admitted the existence of a phenomenon which has long been discussed by journalists and human-rights activists: the involvement of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in kidnapping Ingush civilians and transporting the across the border into Chechnya. Zoya Svetova reported in Russky kurier on July 16 that the acting head of the Prosecutor’s Office, Umarbek Galaev, told a member of Ingushetia’s legislature that “on June 15, 2004, Adam Medov was detained by officers of the FSB’s directorate for the Chechen Republic.”

By law, of course, the FSB should have informed Medov’s relatives, explained to them the reason for the arrest, and given the detainee access to a lawyer. None of these things were done. It seems likely that his relatives would not have learned anything further about Medov’s fate had it not been for some Ingush policemen guarding a checkpoint on one of the routes into Chechnya. On June 17, these guards insisted on inspecting two cars headed in that direction. From the trunk of one of the cars was heard a feeble voice crying “I am an Ingush, and they are trying to take me away.” The voice turned out be that of Adam Medov; the driver and passengers of the car were officers of the FSB directorate for Chechnya. On the floor of the car lay an unidentified man, also tied up like Medov.

The Ingush police managed to get the FSB officers and their captives to a local Ingush police headquarters, and to get word to Medov’s family about his whereabouts. Ten of the captive’s male relatives promptly went to that police headquarters, where they were promised a chance to meet with him. But that promise was never kept. After waiting several hours, Medov’s relatives were told that the FSB had taken him off to Chechnya.

Svetova’s article for Russky kurier also provided new data about what the FSB does to such captives. Zelimkhan Isayev, she wrote, was arrested by FSB officers two months ago at his home in the village of Komsomolskoye. His lawyer managed to get permission to meet with him two days later; as soon as the lawyer saw Isayev’s physical condition, he demanded that he be hospitalized immediately. From his hospital bed, Zelimkhan told his relatives how he had been tortured—with, as Svetova put it, “every method in the torturer’s arsenal.” A few days later, he died from his injuries.