Press-conference: Dagestani Police in Conflict Zone, View from the Inside

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Feb 28, 2013, 4:02:33 AM2/28/13

Press-conference: Dagestani Police in Conflict Zone, View from the Inside

Independent press-center hosts a news conference on Dagestani Police- Issues and Solutions on March 1, Friday, at 11:00 am.

The speakers are:

  • police officers of the Dagestani Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), both functioning and retired,

plus human rights activists and experts: 

  • Svetlana Gannushkina, member of the Board of the Human Rights Center Memorial, chairwoman of the Civic Assistance Committee,
  • Oleg Orlov, member of the Board of Memorial,
  • Ekaterina Sokirianskaya, member of the Board of Memorial.

According to the Caucasian Knot news agency, in 2012 armed conflict in the North Caucasus resulted in 1225 victims (700 of them killed). Militants consider Internal Affairs Ministry officers their main targets. At least 209 policemen were killed in 2012 in the Caucasus.

Over the last three years, there have been more victims of armed conflict in Dagestan than in any other North Caucasian republic. 369 military personnel and officers of power structures (most of them belonging to the Dagestan MIA) were killed and another 546 were wounded.

Human rights organizations consider law enforcement authorities to be responsible for gross violations of law and corruption. Nevertheless, almost no attention is paid to problems of policemen. Meanwhile, they suffer from low qualification level, nepotism, corruption, and power abuse in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Strong corruption system makes it impossible to obey law while working in the MIA. One risks his life investigating corruption crimes. Officers who try to resist the system and raise questions in the MIA or just perform their professional duty regardless the current state of affairs become social outcasts and leave the MIA voluntarily or under pressure. In fact, policemen working in the "hottest spot" of the country have almost no social protection. No rehabilitation is provided for working officers. One has to beat down officials' doors and get involved in long court trials in order to get benefits, pensions and other payments.

Situation of Dagestani law enforcement authorities is critical. The police opposes people and gets demoralized from the inside. The work of republican police should be seriously changed. If not, this important governmental institution would finally get demoralized," police colonel Mr Salikh Nabievich Gadzhiev says.

These and other problems as well as possible solutions to them were reported by initiative group of Independent union of the officers of law enforcement authorities and public prosecutor's office to the minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia Mr Kolokoltsev.

It took superior officers of the MIA of Dagestan more than half a year to reach the minister via various channels including Dagestani mission under the president of Russia in Moscow and human rights defenders. However, the efforts has never been crowned with success: the official letter in the name of the minister submitted by the presidential counselor, chairman of the Civil Society Institutions and Human rights council Mr Mikhail Fedotov was forwarded to the MIA of the Republic of Dagestan. As a result, members of the initiative group found themselves under pressure.

"We didn't intend to tell tales out of school but we didn't find a way to resolve these problems inside the republican ministry. We don't have a right to keep silence because the peace in the republic and safety of our children are at risk. Thanks to big efforts, the situation won't suffer drastic changes till the Olympic Games of 2014. But irretrievable changes are likely to happen afterwards," says Mr Magomed Shamilov, who is chairman of the Union.

February 28, 2012

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