Kabardino-Balkaria: Police Continue to Prosecute Victim of
Torture with False Accusation
HRC “Memorial” sent a statement to the Chairman of the Investigative
Committee of the Russian Federation
“Now I'm going to get a needle and infect you with AIDS”, is how a
'guardian of the law' threatened the kidnapped Inal Berov. The
police officers ordered him to confess to having taken part in a
robbery. Over the course of several hours, Berov was beaten, given
electric shocks, and threatened with being shot. This all took
place in a building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the
Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. After failing to achieve their
aims, and evidently convinced of the innocence of the person they
had kidnapped, the police officers released him. At the same time
they threatened Berov, saying that if he were to report his beating
and torture, they would find a way to have him imprisoned.
However, I. Berov and his father submitted a complaint to the
Investigative Committee and appealed to human rights organizations.
On April 10, 2012, a criminal case was opened into abuse of power
with the use of violence, and Inal Berov was recognized as a victim
in the case (see: decision on the recognition of Berov as a victim:
and the victim's statement:
On April 20, threats from the police began appearing. Berov was
detained, questioned as a suspect and taken into custody. It turned
out that on the previous day, another person being held in
investigative isolation ward, M. Sokhov, had testified against him,
accusing him of involvement in the robbery.
That same day, several officers, went to the Berov family home with
witnesses, to conduct a search. The police refused to allow any of
the Berov family's neighbors to act as witnesses. As a result of
the search, the police announced that they had confiscated keys with
a charm that supposedly came from the car which features in the
However, by the next day, the accusation against the victim of
police torture had begun to collapse. In the course of
investigations Sokhov admitted that he had falsely incriminated
Berov. In addition, he stated that he “could not give a reason for
this false incrimination”. However, it is not difficult to guess
the reason – pressure from those who tortured Berov.
On April 22, Inal Berov's release from custody was announced (see:
release order: http://www.memo.ru/uploads/files/738.pdf
). In the
mean time, he remains a suspect in the criminal case.
The Human Rights Center “Memorial” believes that in the case of Inal
Berov, pressure was put on a victim of police brutality. This is
the way in which those who are used to using torture to extract
confessions, to falsifying criminal cases and remaining wholly
unpunished, attempt to hinder the investigation of criminal cases
involving abuse of power.
The Human Rights Center “Memorial” sent a statement in relation to
this to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian
Federation, A.I. Bastirkin, with a request that they treat the
investigation of criminal cases involving police officers with
See below a detailed description of the case.
The Human Rights Center “Memorial” previously reported the
abduction, in the city of Nalchik, of Inal Muradinovich Berov, born
1983. The kidnappers took Berov to a building of the Ministry of
Internal Affairs in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, were police
officers subjected him to torture.
Inal Berov works with his father and relatives at their own service
station, located in a garage on Ingushsky Street in Nalchik.
On March 6, around 6.30pm, three passenger cars approached the
garage, out of which jumped several armed men in civilian clothing.
Without introducing themselves or offering an explanation, they
burst into the garage brandishing weapons and, on ascertaining which
of those present was Inal, seized him and dragged him outside. One
of the attackers hit Inal around the head with the butt of his gun.
After throwing the seized man into a car, the kidnappers set off in
an unknown direction.
Cameras, located in and outside the garage, captured what happened.
As the kidnappers were not wearing masks, their faces were also
caught on camera.
The father of the man kidnapped, Muradin Berov, immediately went to
the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Republic of
Kabardino-Balkaria to report Inal's abduction. However, he was not
even allowed into the building and was ordered to leave the
territory altogether. The guards denied the possibility that Inal
might be being held in the building. Muradin went to the Nalchik
city prosecutor and to the Investigations Department of the
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Republic of
Kabardino-Balkaria, where his statement was accepted. Moreover, an
investigator from the Committee telephoned the Ministry of Internal
Affairs in Muradin's presense, but they replied that Inal Berov had
not been detained by their staff.
Inal was not answering his telephone. However, the following day,
at around 11am, he called his father from his mobile phone and said
that he was near the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on
Kuliev Street, and he asked him to come to collect him. Muradin
immediately went to that place and met his son. According to his
father, Inal seemed depressed, bruises and scratches were visible on
his body, and he was frowning and complained of pains in his back.
Inal told his father that they had begun beating him in the car,
then they took him to the building of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, where police officers
beat him and gave him electric shocks. According to Berov, he was
forced under torture to confess to his guilt in a robbery conducted
with Murat Sokhov. He told his father that during his beating and
torture, the police officers told him that Sokhov would provide the
testimony which they were demanding of him. According to them, this
would be sufficient to land Berov in jail. Inal refused to
incriminate himself even under torture. Around midnight they
stopped torturing him, and in the morning, the police officers
released Berov. They also showed unprecedented humanity, returning
him his mobile phone and giving him 500 rubles to take a car home.
The police officers asked him to “understand the particular nature
of their work, which forced them to resort to such methods to obtain
information”. However, they also warned Berov that if he reported
them, they would be able to produce something that would land him in
On March 7, his father appealed with a statement to the Prosecutor
of the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of
the Russian Federation in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, on the
use of violence by police in relation to his son. That same day,
doctors from the bureau of forensic examination recorded a fracture
in Inal's lumbar vertebrate, an internal brain and skull injury,
concussion, and bruising and scratches on his face and body.
On April 10, the Investigation Department of the Investigative
Committee of the Russian Federation in the Republic of
Kabardino-Balkaria opened a criminal case against the police
officers who beat and tortured Berov, citing 'a' of Part 3, Article
286 (abuse of power with use of violence) of the Russian Criminal
Code. The bringing of I. Berov to the building of the Ministry
of Internal Affairs and his torture there are considered established
facts. However, despite the fact that Inal Berov states in his
testimony that he is ready to identify those police officers
involved, this has not yet taken place. Inal has been recognized as
a victim in the case (http://www.memo.ru/uploads/files/737.pdf
As the victim, I. Berov has given evidence:
. Below is an extract from
“They dragged me into a black car VAZ 2114 or VAZ 2115. We went
somewhere, I couldn't see where, because I was blindfolded. They
asked me if I knew a man by the name of Murat Sokhov. I said that I
did. After that they started to beat me on the head from both sides
with the butt of their guns, inside the car. At the same time, one
of those sitting in the car, turning to someone, said: “Wait, let's
go to the forest, rape him, and then carry on”. While the car was
moving, they also said that they would rape my mother and father.
“...They took me to an office on the ground floor. They removed the
blindfold and I saw there were about 12 people. Several of them
asked me: “Are you going to talk?”, and I said I would. They asked
me to tell them about how last year I, Sokhov, Abanokov and another
man called “Mussa”, had taken 6000 rubles from some man and shot him
in the leg. I said that I had not taken part in any such thing,
that I knew nothing about it. At that, the people present knocked
me to the floor, removed my handcuffs, and taped my hands behind my
back. They again covered my head with a hat and secured it with
tape. I lay like that on the floor, and they began hitting me,
namely, on the head and torso. Then they attached a wire to my
thumb and started giving me electric shocks. They gave me electric
shocks like this for about 10 minutes. I cried out in pain, after
which they gagged me with a piece of paper. Then they removed the
electric wires and continued beating me. I lost consciousness and
came around to them hitting my head, saying “Don't pretend” and
dousing me with water.
At the same time, while they were beating me, the hat slipped from
my eyes and I was able to see my surroundings and the faces of the
people beating me. After that, they sat me on a chair and again
asked if I was going to talk. They told me to tell them about how I
had been involved in the robbery they had described. So I started
to deny my involvement. One of the men started to get nervous,
shouting at me, using very foul language towards me. He pulled the
chair out from underneath me and hit me around the head with it,
causing the chair to break […].
“Then he produced a pistol, removed the safety catch, put his finger
to the trigger, held it to my temple and said: “I'm going to shoot
you now, bitch, then chuck you out, we'll burn your work in the
night and, even if you survive, we'll plant a grenade or drugs on
you, and you'll go to jail.” After this, he left the office and
another man came in. The new man asked me: “Do you remember that
you beat my friend because he sold drugs?” I had not beaten the man
they were talking about. The man who had entered sat on top of me
(I was on the floor) and stepped on my face, wound his right hand up
in a cloth and started beating me on my spine, saying “This is for
After the criminal case had been opened, Muradin Berov sent a letter
to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian
Federation in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, A.I. Bastirkin, in
which he wrote:
“I thank from the bottom of my heart the employees of the
Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor's Office, and I do not
doubt your professionalism and honor. But, knowing local laws,
which are full of confusion between the law and pseudo-ethnic
concepts, and characterized by the loss of a distinction between
good and evil, between virtue and vice, I am extremely concerned
that the investigation will encounter insurmountable difficulties in
the disclosure of this crime (whoever committed it). Not one of
those implicated has even been suspended from work, if one can call
harming the health, life and fate of innocent people for the sake of
notorious index, and actual connivance with the true criminals,
“Is it really possible to let a bunch of criminals who have gone too
far (whatever clothes they wear and whatever identity card they
carry in their pocket) terrorize citizens and actually undermine the
credibility of the government, to whose will these bad guys refer
“I beg you to help the investigative bodies of the Republic rid
themselves of this wasps' nest, this handful of dishonest employees
in the otherwise healthy body of the law enforcement agencies.
“In addition, my son's kidnappers threatened him with revenge if he
were to disclose their terrible secret.
“I fear that without your help it will be difficult for the local
investigative bodies to identify and deal with this gang of
criminals (they cannot be called otherwise).
“Please, put this problem under your own control – after all, this
is not an anomalous situation, but is in fact widespread and
“All hope depends on your help.”
On April 20, the doubts expressed in this letter where unfortunately
proved to be founded. Several police officers went to the Berov
home. Without offering any explanation, they announced that Inal
had been summoned for questioning by the Investigations Department
of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the
Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Once there, I. Berov discovered
that on the previous day, April 19, Murat Sokhov, the man accused of
carrying out the previously described robbery and attack, had given
testimony stating that Inal had taken part in the attack (the person
under investigation, Sokhov, is being held in the city of Nalchik).
Sokhov had also stated that at the time of the attack, they had
taken the keys from the BMW car. In the course of questioning, as a
witness, Inal in turn stated that he had been falsely incriminated
and that he had not committed any robbery or attack. However, Berov
was detained, questioned as a suspect and taken into custody.
That same day, officers went to the Berovs' apartment with their own
witnesses to conduct a search. The police categorically refused to
allow any neighbors to act as witnesses. As a result of the search,
the police announced that they had discovered keys with the very
charm that came from the car which features in the robbery case.
Inal Berov's relatives are certain that the police planted the keys
The next day, April 21, the accusation against Inal Berov began to
collapse. In the course of investigations, Sokhov admitted that he
had falsely incriminated Berov in a crime he had not committed. He
also said that he “could not give a reason for this false
incrimination”. Meanwhile, lawyers for Berov, with whom his
relatives have signed a contract, are certain that Sokhov gave
evidence against their client under pressure.
On April 22, Inal's release from custody was announced
). Meanwhile, as of April
24, he remains a suspect in a criminal case.
Lawyers for Inal Berov are planning an additional examination of the
client's health to identify the effects of his beating and torture.
See also a video recording about Berov's abduction and torture,
prepared by Public Human Rights Center of Kabardino-Balkaria
The participants of the discussion are: the head of the Center
Valery Khatazhukov, Inal Berov, his father Muradin Berov, Berov's
lawyer and Human Rights Center “Memorial” employee Rustam Matsev.
The item contains recordings of CCTV of abduction (18:44-20:38).
April 26, 2012