Kizilurt District of Dagestan Police Division: a New Attempt to Falsify a Case?
On January 12, 2013 the Human Rights Center Memorial received a verbal request from Ziautdin Uvaisov, the attorney representing the forty-years-old resident of the Kizilurt District of the Republic of Dagestan, Isa Abdulgapurovich Mogomedov. Magomedov is currently held under arrest in the town of Khasavurt as a suspect of unlawful keeping of weapons (Article 222 of the Russian Criminal Code) and participating in an illegal armed group (Article 208 of the Criminal Code). Uvaisov informed Memorial that his defendant was tortured with electricity and severely beaten. The lawyer also informed us that Magomedov made a complaint about the beatings with the Prosecutor’s Office, however police officials tortured him again after the complaint, demanding him to confess that he committed crimes.
A day later, January 13, Isa’s wife, Zhanna Mogomedova submitted a statement at the legal branch of the Human Rights Center Memorial in Dagestan’s capital city Mahachkala. She detailed the illegal detention at the end of December 2012 of her husband as well as her twenty-one years old son Abdulbakhab Isaevich Magomedov.
On December 26, 2012, at 9 am, Magomedov’s house was visited by armed and camouflage clad law enforcement officials intending to conduct a house search.
According to Zhanna, the family kept a Kalashnikov machine gun in the house, found by her husband near a site of a “special operation” (a minor operation which is often part of larger counter-terrorism efforts) in the autumn months of that year. When the enforcement officials neared the house, Zhanna told her son Abdulvakhab to re-hide the weapon. He wrapped the gun in a child’s bed sheet and went into the yard to hide it under the awning.
When Zhanna came out of the house after some time, she found that the enforcement officers were yelling at Abdulvakhab. She assumed that they saw her son hiding the Kalashnikov.
Then, she stated, the officers entered the house (without presenting a search warrant or any documents,) brought in Abdulvakhab and his father Isa, who was also out in the yard at the time. The officers brought the men into the kitchen and cuffed them to each other. One officer asked Zhanna to invite her neighbours as witnesses. When the neighbours were about to come into the yard, another officer persuaded them against being witnesses.
In addition to the already mentioned family members, Zhanna’s six children and her mother Zinaida Serafimovna Cheyko with her husband were currently all in the house. Zhanna left the kitchen to see her other family members and when she returned she saw that Abdulvakhab had been hit and was bleeding from one oh his temples. She asked who of the enforcement officials hit her son and one of them admitted it was his doing. When she asked him what right he had to hit him, he answered, “I have the right, and I will hit, you should all be killed anyways!” Other officers entered the verbal altercation that ensued. They asked why the weapon was left in the house and not given to the police. Isa answered that he found it in the fall of that year at the site of a “special operation”, and kept it in the home for shooting away dogs and wolves which often kill his sheep.
An hour and a half later a group of enforcement officers with witnesses arrived and thoroughly searched the premises and the property. They found the machine gun hidden by Abdulvakhab.
The officers photographed the weapon and asked Isa where he found it. He described the site. A protocol was created. According to Zhanna, Isa and Abdulvakhab signed it without reading it. The enforcement officers confiscated all the mobile phones belonging to family members and then took Zhanna and the two men to the Kizil Urt District Police Division.
Zhanna stated that in the corridor on the second floor of the Division building she witnessed people from her village that were detained as well.
Isa and Abdulvakhab were taken into one of the rooms where they were un-cuffed. Then, Isa was left there while Zhanna and Abdulvakhab were asked to the opposite room.
According to Zhanna, officials asked her and her son how the weapon appeared in their home. Zhanna was shown photographs of “bearded men in camouflage uniforms”, demanding that they were frequent guests in the Magomedov’s house. However, Zhanna and Abdulvakhab insisted that they don’t know any of the depicted men and have nothing to do with activities of “illegal armed groups”.
At 3:00 pm Zhanna was taken to a different room where the interrogation continued. An official asked her what music she listens to and what books she reads. After the interrogation they took her and her son’s fingerprints.
The official who interrogated Zhanna last brought her a document to sign. According to her, it mentioned their weapon as an item that had been taken in some robbery in the town Sulak. At first Zhanna refused to sign, but then after insistent requests of the official she signed.
Early evening Zhanna and Abdulvakhab were again placed in the same room. While there, Zhanna stated, they heard Isa’s terrible screams. Zhanna started to cry, blaming the enforcement officers that her husband is being tortured, tried to run to help him, but they stopped her. The officers explained to her that “this is how their colleagues play football”. A few minutes later the screaming stopped.
At 9:00 pm Zhanna was released, but Abdulvakhab stayed at the station.
On December 27 the family turned for help to the attorney Akhmedbek Kadilaev. That evening he informed Zhanna that he saw Isa at the police station. He told the attorney that under torture he had to sign a testimony about taking part in “Illegal Armed Groups”. The lawyer told the family that in his opinion Abdulvakhab should be released in the next half an hour. They waited in vain for more than four hours and then went to the station. They were told there that he would not be released.
At approximately 8:00 pm Kadilaev called Zhanna and passed the phone to her husband Isa. With a weak voice Isa asked her to bring his documents to the station. The lawyer also informed Zhanna that Isa rebuked his earlier testimony given under torture. The lawyer also recommended finding a different attorney for her son.
December 29 at noon two officials from the station came to Zhanna and asked her to collect warm clothes for Abdulvakhab, saying that he will be released soon. At the same time, she stated, they started to photograph the house, windows, doors, the yard. She demanded that they stop taking photos and they eventually left.
On December 30 Zhanna called the on-duty Prosecutor of the Republic of Dagestan. He informed her that Abdukvakhab is officially arrested on December 30 and that he is suspected of involvement with members of illegal armed groups.
The family invited Adbul Gaziev, a lawyer to defend Abdulvakhab’s interests. After meeting Zhana’s son, Gaziev informed he that he is in an inadequate state: “He answers every question with the same memorized script, laughs without reason”.
December 31 the family came to the court in city Kizilurt, where Abdukvakhab a restraining order was issued for his arrest. In the course of the proceedings Abdukbakhab withdrew his earlier statements that he gave under torture and that incriminated him, his father, and a married couple known to them from their village, killed in a “special operation” in December 30. Abdulvakhab was transferred to the detention centre (the so-called IVS) in Kizilurt.
On January 2, 2012 the family hired the lawyer Ziautdin Uvaisov to represent Isa Magomedov. He met with the defendant and after talking to Isa, Uvaisov forwarded a petition in his name to Prosecetur’s Office. In the document Isa confesses that he kept a Kalashnikov machine gun illegally but at the same time reports that the officials of the Kizilurt District Police Devision tortured him and forced him to confess to involvement in “illegal armed groups.”
Between January 3 and 10, Isa and Abdulvakhab were not allowed to meet their attorneys. Uvaisov sent several complaints in regards to this matter to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Division.
Attorney Gaziev met with Abdulvakhab on January 11. He did not complaint about torture, however informed the attorney that various people came to him and tried to threaten him. He also told the attorney that Isa is being tortured and beaten.
On January 12, Uvaisov met with Isa and confirmed that Isa did in fact incriminate himself, as attorney Kadilaev already reported, having signed a confession of connections with members of “illegal armed groups.”
As of January 18, Isa and Abdulvakhab Magomedov are held at a jail in the city of Khasavurt.
The Human Rights Center Memorial and the Civil Support Committee wrote to the Head Prosecutor of the Republic of Dagestan with the request to take action on the facts of torture of father and son Magomedov.
Of note in the recent years, is the high number of complaints about unlawful methods of investigation in Dagestan’s Kizilurt District Police Division. Memorial released a report based on these complaints in February 2009. We send copies to the General Prosecutor’s Office, Republic of Dagestan Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Dagestan with a request to check all these citizen’s petitions and find those guilty in the crimes. The report is available in Russian on Memorial’s website. Several criminal cases have been launched against officials of the Kizilurt District Police Division, however non of them have been investigated, not one person called to justice.
January 29, 2012