Chechnya: Siloviks Torture Suspect’s Parents and Sisters
On April, 12, 2012, three residents of the Chechen Republic (ChR) were detained at the border between Belarus and Poland during a special operation. Two of them are on the international wanted list for shooting at a police patrol in Grozny, ChR, in March of this year.
According to the investigation, a local resident, Magomed Maulanovich Akaev, born 1986, was among the criminals. He is now being held in custody in a temporary detention center in Brest awaiting extradition to Russia. He told his family that during the night of March 12, 2012, he had been driving around with his friends in Grozny in a car without number plates. The traffic police tried to stop the car for a check, but the young men did not respond. In the course of the chase, these latter started shooting at the patrol car. As a result, a police officer was killed, and the men fled the republic.
In the attempt to establish Magomed Akaev’s whereabouts, over the course of several days Chechen siloviks tortured, beat and insulted his family. The violence against his family stopped when it was found out that Magomed had been detained in Belarus. The family fears that Magomed will undergo even harsher violence than them. Magomed’s mother, Semilat Akaeva, reported the details of the events in her written statement, made 4 months after the event.
At 5 p.m. on March, 13, about 30 men in camouflage uniform broke into the house that the Akaevs were renting in Grozny. Semilat and Magomed’s wife, Aina, were at home. Without introducing themselves or showing their documents, the siloviks forced the women out of the house and started to search it. They took their mobile phones, a laptop, and photographs. Without any explanation, they took the women to the OVD of Octyabrsky district. There, Semilat was told by the siloviks that her son, Magomed Akaev, had taken part in a bandit attack, as a result of which a policeman had died. The siloviks insulted the women, and threatened ‘to do away with their entire family’.
In a few hours Aina was taken from the OVD to the building of the Operational Search Unit of the Interior Office of the Russian Federation in ChR (OSU MVD RF in ChR). There, for several hours on end, she was beaten, tortured with electric shocks, insulted, and threatened with rape. Semilat was at that moment at the OVD, where other members of the Akaevs family had also been invited: Magomed’s father, Maulan Usmanovich Akaev, born 1948, Magomed’s sisters, Zulai Akaeva, born 1977, Zura Akaeva, born 1978, and Elmira Akaeva, born 1984. The siloviks had been threatening and insulting the Akaevs, demanding that they report Magomed’s whereabouts. They told them that it was within their rights to murder them, and that no-one would find out. According to the siloviks, on the night of March 12th, Magomed and the four people who had been with him shot at the police patrol, killing one policeman. The family members claimed that they knew nothing about the events or Magomed’s whereabouts. Semilat tried to convince them that on March, 12, Magomed had left his parents’ place for his own house, with his wife. On the same night, some friends came to see him and they went somewhere together. He didn’t return home after that and they never saw him again. Magomed’s parents were asked to identify the friends who had been with him at that night in photographs.
They were held in the police department until 7 a.m. and then released.
On March 14th, the siloviks went to get Magomed’s sister, Zura, who had been at her sister Liza’s house. She was taking care of her after surgery. When Zura found out that the siloviks had come, she began to feel sick and an ambulance had to be called. The doctors managed to convince the siloviks not to take Zura to the department.
On March 15th, after 9 p.m., officers of the OSU MVD RF in ChR came to the Akaevs' house again and took Zura, Elmira and Semilat. There, they were taken to different rooms and again demanded to report Magomed’s whereabouts. Elmira was tortured with electric shocks with a scarf pushed into her mouth. Semilat could hear her scream and begged the siloviks to stop torturing her, but to no avail. The siloviks threatened to torture their entire family, including Liza. One of the young OCR officers insulted Elmira and spat in her face.
Unable to sustain the torture, Elmira told the siloviks what they wanted her to say: that she had allegedly met Magomed on the day following the event and had given him a passport and a phone. The women were held in the department for three hours. Semilat began to feel sick, and was taken to hospital. Zura and Elmira went with her. At 2 a.m. relatives picked them up from the hospital.
According to Semilat, around March 22nd Maulan went to Kalmykia, where he had been living temporarily with his wife and where he was registered. At the beginning of April, Maulan was forced to return to Grozny at the demand of officers of the OSU MVD RF in ChR. When he came to the department, he was detained by siloviks. The relatives were told that Maulan would not be released until Magomed’s whereabouts were discovered. He was released three days later. They told him that Magomed had been detained in Belarus.
It was discovered that Zulai, Zura as well as four other relatives of the Akaevs were fired from OVD of Itum-Kalinsky district. According to Semilat, they had been forced to write voluntary letters of resignation.
On March 20th, Semilat reported the torture of her family members to the Investigatory Department of Investigatory Committee of the RF, MIA of the RF, to the prosecutor’s office of the RF and ChR, and to the Presidents of the RF and ChR. She claims to have received no response. She soon left for Kalmykia. At the beginning of April, a local police officer at the sovkhoz in which she was living came to her and asked to write an explanation of her report to the Investigatory Department of Investigatory Committee in ChR. He explained that he had been asked to do so in a phone call with an officer of the investigatory department of Grozny named Rizvan. Semilat wrote an explanation and the officer sent it by fax.
Semilat states in her report: “My husband and I are old and ill people. I have diabetes and a heart condition, my husband has a heart condition. We are scared to even stay in our own home. We are scared. I fear for my son’s life as well, that he will not be brought to ChR alive, that he will be tortured, and that the investigation will not be just or fair.”
July 11, 2012