Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 31

On July 31, Kavkazky Uzel quoted from a report by the Memorial human rights group that stated, “Contemporary Chechnya is increasingly starting to resemble a medieval khanate.” Memorial said it had received a telephone call on July 28 from someone who reported that a severed head had been hung up in the center of the village of Kurchaloi. The following day, Memorial staffers went to the village, where they saw a pair of bloody camouflage trousers on a gas-main pipe next to a local police post and found traces of blood on the pipe itself. According to Memorial, two rebel fighters had been caught in an ambush set up by local security forces on July 27, during which one of the rebels was killed and the other was captured. In the wake of the ambush, armed security forces drove to the center of the village in some 20 cars and hung the dead rebel’s severed head and bloody trousers on the gas pipe. Local residents who witnessed this said that the decapitated rebel was a local resident named Khozh-Akhmed Dushaev.

Memorial reported that the person who directed “this medieval action” was Idris Gaibov, described as “an aide to the Chairman of the Government”—that is, an aide to Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov. “Inhabitants of nearby homes heard Gaibov call Ramzan Kadyrov and report that they had killed ‘Devil No. 1’ from Kurchaloi and hung his head up,” Memorial reported. According to the human rights group, the security forces spent two hours photographing the severed head with cell phones and video cameras. The following morning, local police removed the head but left the bloody trousers on the gas pipe.

Memorial identified the captured rebel as Adam Badaev, a resident of the village of Avtury who, according to the human rights group, was a deputy to Khozh-Akhmed Dushaev, who had been a rebel field commander. “One can assume that Idris Gaibov’s mockery of the body of Dashaev was an…act of revenge,” Memorial stated. “According to some sources, on June 10, Dashaev had killed and beheaded Idris Gaibov’s nephew, Adam Gaibov. Last year, in September, a similar case was reported. At the time, the kadyrovtsy displayed the head of a militant that they had killed in the village of Tsotsin-Yurt. It is now obvious that such initiatives of rank and file ‘fighters against terrorism’ are approved at the highest level” (Chechnya Weekly, September 29, 2005).

Meanwhile, the Caucasus Times reported on July 31 that a number of Chechens had been detained during a zachistki, or security sweep, in the republic. Four people were detained during a three-hour operation involving passport checks and “special measures” carried out jointly by members of the Federal Security Service and the federal Interior Ministry in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district. Three of those detained were subsequently released, the website reported. A similar operation was conducted in the Shali district village of Avtury. The Caucasus Times cited a local administration representative as saying that residents were concerned about an increase in the frequency of zachistki. “It is not clear why these operations have become frequent after the amnesty,” the official told the website. “I think some people are against members of the illegal armed formations surrendering voluntarily and are thus putting an end to all counterterrorist operations in Chechnya.”