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Human Rights Watch had a continuous research presence in Ingushetia from December 1999 to May 2000. Research for this report was conducted by Peter Bouckaert and Malcolm Hawkes, researchers; Alexander Petrov, deputy director of the Moscow office; and Johanna Bjorken and Max Marcus, consultants. The report was written by Johanna Bjorken and Peter Bouckaert. It was edited by Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia Division; Martina Vandenberg, researcher in the Women's Rights Division; Michael McClintock, deputy program director; and Dinah PoKempner, deputy general counsel. Special thanks also to Diederik Lohman, director of Human Rights Watch's Moscow office. Invaluable assistance was provided by Liuda Belova and Alexander Ovcharuk in the Moscow office; Alexander Frangos, coordinator for the Europe and Central Asia division; Rachel Bien and Maria Pulzetti, associates for the Europe and Central Asia division; and Patrick Minges, publications director. Human Rights Watch also wishes to thank its local staff in Ingushetia who worked tirelessly to help gather the information in this report.

We are deeply grateful to the Memorial Human Rights Center for their contribution to this report and their collegiality, in Moscow and in Ingushetia. 

Most of all, we wish to express our gratitude to the many former detainees who agreed to share their stories with us, despite their fears of possible consequences. Many braved genuine danger to travel to Ingushetia to be interviewed by Human Rights Watch researchers. We hope that this report will contribute to ending the abuses in detention that they faced, and bringing those responsible for torture and other abuses to justice. 

Human Rights Watch gratefully acknowledges the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, the Moriah Fund, and the John Merck Fund for their generous support. 


Most of the persons interviewed for this report were Chechen detainees who had experienced severe beatings, torture, and other abuses in custody. They were detained and released in the first six months of 2000, but many continued to live in great fear of rearrest and further abuse in detention. Russian authorities in Chechnya use a computerized database to identify rebel suspects which could be used to track down witnesses identified by name. For these reasons, Human Rights Watch has changed the names of most of the witnesses who provided information for this report. Changed names are enclosed within quotation marks, clearly identified as such in footnotes (with the notation "not his/her real name" when first used) and are used consistently throughout the report.


Article 208: The part of the Russian Criminal Code that deals with the organization of or participation in illegal armed groups. 

CPT: The Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 

GAZ 53: A prisoner transport vehicle, with two compartments in the trailer that serve as holding cells. Also may be colloquially called avtozak or voronok

IVS (Izoliator vremenogo zaderzhania):Temporary holding cell at a police station. Under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry. 

Komendatura: Local police command post.

MChS(Ministerstvo chrezvychainykh situatsiy): The Russian Emergencies Situation Ministry, also sometimes called EMERCOM in English. 

MVD (Ministerstvo vnutrennykh del): Interior Ministry. 

OMON(Otriad militsii osobogo naznachenia):Special forces (riot police) under the jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry, not the Defense Ministry. The Russian government Unified Forces in Chechnya are composed of Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry forces. 

Procuracy (Prokuratura): State agency responsible for both criminal investigation and prosecution, and human rights protection. 

Propiska: Residency permit for one's official place of residence. The word "propiska" has been excluded from official use since 1995 when the government introduced registratsiya (registration). Registration may be permanent or temporary. In everyday use people still often say "propiska" instead of "registratsiya" without distinguishing between permanent and temporary. 

SOBR (Spetsialnye otriady bystrogo reagirovania): Special rapid reaction forces.

SIZO (Sledstvennyi izoliator): Pretrial detention center. Under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice.