On New Year’s Eve, Spain extradited to Russia a Chechen accused of involvement in the June 2004 rebel attacks on the Ingush Interior Ministry building and other installations in Nazran. The BBC quoted the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office as saying that Murat Gasaev had been handed over on December 31. The deputy head of the office’s extradition department, Vadim Yalovitsky, said it was the first such extradition from a European country.
According to the BBC, the website for Spain’s El Pais newspaper reported that Gasaev’s extradition took place without any anti-torture guarantees. Gasaev, who stands accused of banditry, murder and illegal possession of arms and could face life imprisonment, was arrested in the Spanish city of Valencia in December 2006.
Kavkazky Uzel reported on January 7 that a group of Russian human rights activists had appealed to Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, asking him to look at Gasaev’s case fairly as well as to take control of his prison stay in order to ensure that Gasaev is not tortured. “There are grounds to believe that the Gasaev case is falsified,” the appeal stated. “It is based mainly on the testimony of a person who later admitted that he had slandered several of his acquaintances, including Murat, under unbearable torture.”
The appeal was signed by, among others, Nizhny Novgorod journalists and human rights activists Oksana Chelysheva and Stanislav Dmitrievsky, the lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin, Civil Assistance Chairwoman Svetlana Gannushkina, and other human rights activists, including Yelena Sannikova, Tatyana Monakhova and Raisa Grishechkina.