From the beginning of the year 2004 until the end of April, some 136 people were kidnapped in Chechnya, Dmitry Grushkin of the human rights center Memorial told Radio Liberty in a broadcast interview last week. Of these, seventy-six were eventually released while thirteen were found dead. Thus the fate of another forty-seven is still unknown.
In the past Memorial representatives have stressed that they are unable to monitor the entire territory of Chechnya, and that the total number of kidnappings and deaths is therefore undoubtedly larger than the number known to them.
Asked by Radio Liberty whether the overall situation in Chechnya has changed, Grushkin answered that it has neither improved nor worsened.
Grushkin also noted that the practice torture is continuing. He noted an “interesting” tendency. On April 29, as often happens, masked gunmen burst into the home of the Magomadov family in the village of Kurchaloy in eastern Chechnya. The gunmen seized 16-year-old Khizir Magomadov and began to beat him, asking him to reveal the whereabouts of a relative who has been living for more than a decade in central Russia. A member of the Kadyrov administration’s private army accidentally saw what was happening and radioed some of his colleagues, who quickly arrived and disarmed the masked gunmen. The latter turned out be servicemen of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).