Memorial: Government Violence in North Caucasus a “Daily” Occurrence

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 34

Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 11 that the Memorial human rights group has released a report chronicling violent incidents in the North Caucasus during August of this year. According to the report, kidnappings, attacks by unknown persons, shootings, and murder take place in the North Caucasus practically daily.

Memorial reported that on August 1, members of an unknown “power structure” in Nazran, Ingushetia’s largest city, kidnapped a native of Chechnya, Kiev Kazbek. According to the human rights group, it took until August 5 for Kazbek’s relatives to find out that he was being held in Nazran’s remand prison (SIZO) on suspicion of having committed a crime. Memorial found out that officials did not inform Kazbek’s relatives of his whereabouts for 12 hours and did not permit them to provide him with legal services.

On August 2, two Nazran residents, Khmazat Gardanov and Daud Chibiev, were shot to death by members of “federal power structures,” Memorial reported. According to witnesses, neither man put up armed resistance to the “siloviki,” who allegedly planted a pistol and three cartridges on Chibiev’s body. However, eyewitnesses were afraid to give evidence of what happened.

On August 3, Mokhmadsaloros Masaev, a native of the Chechen settlement of Itum-Kale, was kidnapped by unidentified persons wearing camouflage uniforms in Grozny, the Chechen capital. On August 5, Anzor Gadaev, a resident of the village of Mesker-Yurt in Chechnya’s Shali district, was kidnapped from his home by unknown persons. That same day, two other residents of Chechnya, Israpil Ganaev and Sulim Ismailov, disappeared. According to Memorial, Ganaev’s father said he has reliable unofficial information that both men were seen inside the police station in the town of Argun on August 11. On August 12, Amra Magomadova filed a second report with Memorial’s office in Grozny about the abduction of her son, Mairbek Magomadov, by members of Chechen power structures back in June. Magomadova said her son had returned home and asked the human rights group not to act on her first report. She refused to say where he had been during his disappearance. However, according to other relatives, he was initially held at the headquarters of Chechnya’s OMON police commandos in Grozny, transferred to the headquarters of the republic’s anti-organized crime unit (OBOP) and then back to OMON headquarters.

On August 18, Tamerlan Nasipov, a student at the Chechen State Oil Institute, was abducted by unidentified “siloviki” in Grozny’s Leninsky district. He returned home after three days but refused to talk about where had been held.

Meanwhile, Memorial also reported that on August 14, Russian troops carried out a massive bombardment of the outskirts of the mountain settlement of Zumsoi in Chechnya’s Itumkalinsky district. The bombardment reportedly came from the direction of the settlement of Borzoi and involved fire from Grad missile systems and from aviation. Meanwhile, airborne troops were also dropped in the area. At the time of the bombardment, only 15 families who had recently returned to Zumsoi were living in the settlement, which was partially destroyed during the second Chechen military campaign. Eyewitnesses said that the center of the village was not bombed, and therefore no one was hurt. The reason for the bombardment and the dispatching of troops was not determined.