Russia

Chechens from Alkan-kala report beating, torture during detention

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Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus - Six residents of the Alkhan-kala village, who had been detained by members of federal troops on January 21, were released on February 2. All six of them were badly beaten.

The detainees told human rights defenders that they had been tortured. Some of them were being smothered with plastic bags put over their heads till they lost consciousness, others had newspaper scraps put between their toes and set on fire.

Practically all of them were beaten with baseball bats. "The fact that Russian soldiers have baseball bats strongly suggests that they use them specifically for beating detainees, because this type of sport is popular neither in Chechnya nor in Russia," Chechen human rights defender Usam Baisayev told PW correspondent adding that human rights defenders had documented many testimonies proving such cases.

Artur Azdamirov, Salman Umkhanov, Magrod Tashtamirov, Khasanbek Musostov, Abas Tovsultanov and Bekhan Bursagov are - according to their neighbours - all peaceful people, who do not belong to any armed group.

For example, 44-year-old Tovsultanov was taken by the soldiers directly from his workplace. He works as a boilerman at a hospital. In exactly the same manner they took also Bursagov - a dentist - from his work. Near the hospital building they detained also Azdamirov, Umkhanov and Tashtamirov, who arrived at the hospital by car bringing in Azdamirov's sister with her sick child just minutes before the soldiers. Musostov, who lives in the mountain village of Shatoi, arrived that day to stay with his sister and was about to undergo a therapy course at the Alkhan-kala hospital. Even he got his "share", as they say.

The location of the detainees remained unknown for more than ten days. According to certain sources, these people from Alkhan-kala were released due to the intervention of a high-ranking official of the Chechen Interior Ministry, who himself comes from the same village. (D/T)

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