VII. Abductions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture

According to Memorial, 29 people were detained in abduction-style operations by law enforcement and security agencies in Ingushetia in 2007. Three of the abducted individuals “disappeared,” and a fourth was confirmed killed.171

In each case, witnesses to the detention said that police or security personnel did not identify themselves, present a warrant, or inform the individual or his family of the grounds for his detention and where he would be taken. For this reason, local residents and the Memorial Human Rights Center refer to this pattern as “abductions.” To maintain consistency, the same term is used in this report.

Typically, those abducted by security and law enforcement services are young males suspected of involvement with illegal armed groups and terrorist activity. Three categories of young men are especially vulnerable to abduction: individuals related to or acquainted with presumed insurgents or terrorism suspects; those previously detained and whose names are on police and security forces’ databases, regardless of whether they were charged or cleared of any alleged wrongdoing; and religious Muslims who either adhere to “non-traditional” Salafite Islam,172 or are suspected of such adherence by security services.

Abductions can be carried out during or beyond the framework of “special operations.” Those detained are often tortured and some become victims of enforced disappearances. This chapter documents some of these blatant violations,173 including three cases of enforced disappearance and three cases of torture, including a case of death under torture.

Unlawful detentions, torture, and enforced disappearances constitute violations of Russia’s international human rights obligations. Deprivations of liberty fall short of meeting human rights standards unless they are carried out in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law and meet minimum procedural guarantees.174 Universal standards clearly stipulate that torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment cannot be justified in any situation.175 Governments further have a positive obligation to investigate allegations of torture and ill-treatment by their officials, to punish those responsible, and to provide effective remedies to complainants.176

Enforced disappearances of individuals are recognized as a grave and flagrant violation of fundamental human rights, including the right to liberty and security and the right not to be subjected to torture. Disappearances are moreover considered to violate or constitute a serious threat to the right to life.177 Governments are obliged to take effective measures to prevent, terminate, and criminalize all acts of enforced disappearance.178 The European Court of Human Rights has, in recent cases involving disappearances in Chechnya, stressed the obligation to take efficient action in the days and weeks immediately after a disappearance.179 The Court moreover considers that detained individuals are in a particularly vulnerable position. Accordingly, the authorities’ obligation to account for the treatment of a detained person is especially strict in cases where that individual disappears or dies. The burden of proof may in such cases be considered to rest on the authorities to provide a plausible explanation.180 The Court has applied these principles in cases concerning abductions in Chechnya, in which, although it is not proved that a person was taken into custody by the authorities, it is possible to ascertain that he or she entered a place under their control and has not been seen since.181

Abductions and Enforced Disappearances

Enforced disappearance of Ibragim Gazdiev

On August 8, 2007, Ibragim Gazdiev (born 1978) was abducted and “disappeared” by unknown security personnel.

Ibragim Gazdiev worked as manager of a construction supply shop in Karabulak. Around 12:30 p.m., Gadziev’s colleagues received a phone call from a local resident (witness A., name withheld by Human Rights Watch), who told them that he had just seen Ibragim being taken away by armed personnel. According to witness A., several armed servicemen wearing masks and camouflage uniforms had stopped Gazdiev’s car in the center of Karabulak. They blocked Gazdiev on the road and motioned to him to come out of the car. Witness A. saw the servicemen check Gazdiev’s documents, put him in their minibus, take his car, and drive off in three vehicles.182

Ibragim’s colleagues conveyed this information to Gadziev’s father, Mukhmed. Three days after the abduction, another witness (witness B., name not disclosed to Human Rights Watch) told Mukhmed Gazdiev that he not only saw the detention but followed the minibus until it pulled into the yard of the FSB headquarters in Ingushetia’s capital, Magas.183

In addition to notifying police and prosecutorial authorities of Ibragim’s abduction, Mukhmed Gazdiev succeeded in speaking directly to Ingushetia’s president Murat Zyazikov, and prosecutor Yuri Turygin several weeks later. They did not tell Gazdiev where his son was, but reassured him that that he was being treated lawfully and that he would be home soon.

Mukhmed Gazdiev told Human Rights Watch,184

When I worked as a teacher in Grozny [Chechnya], Zyazikov studied with me for two years. So he could not refuse to see me. I explained the situation to him and he summoned Turygin. I told the prosecutor, “Please don’t do my son any harm. We know what kind of methods your people use. Do all the lawful things. If he deserves to be punished, let’s punish him together. I’ll disown him [if he is guilty].” And he [Turygin] replied right away, “We’re not going to do anything unlawful to him. …” Then, Zyazikov explained, “He was taken by security personnel. They are conducting an investigation with his participation. But he’s not mixed up with any dirty dealings—it’s just that he’s got some no good acquaintances.”

Mukhmed Gazdiev had an idea what kind of “acquaintances” they were referring to. According to Mukhmed Gazdiev, back in March 2004 Ibragim Gazdiev had been planning to go to Grozny by car and one of his customers185 had asked Ibragim to take him, his wife, and two children along. The man was allegedly wanted by law enforcement on suspicion of insurgency, but Ibragim, according to his father, was not aware of this. On the way back, when they reentered Karabulak, their car was stopped by armed servicemen. The man was shot on the spot, and Ibragim was taken to the local police station for questioning and then released. That day, the Gazdievs’ house was searched by police and FSB officials, but nothing was found.

The family was then left in peace for several years. Unexpectedly, on May 31, 2007, the investigation department of the FSB’s Ingushetia branch conducted another search of the Gadzievs’ home. The search was carried out lawfully. According to Mukhmed Gazdiev, in response to a question from his frightened wife regarding any possible problems in the future, the FSB official present at the search reassured them, “No, of course not. After all, nothing was found at your place.” The search report confirmed that no incriminating evidence had been discovered.

Mukhmed Gazdiev made a direct link between these events and the abduction of his son. At the same time, he was largely reassured by his meeting with President Zyazikov and Prosecutor Turygin and expected his son to return within several days. When that did not happen, Mukhmed Gazdiev resumed his own search for his son, relying on some personal connections. He shared the following conclusions with Human Rights Watch,186

I have lots of evidence, but coming forth with it openly would harm the people [who revealed it]. From what we know, he [Ibragim Gazdiev] was constantly moved from one place to another ... We were able to trace him. He was here first, then in Pyatigorsk [Stavropol province], then in Nalchik [Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria], then in Vladikavkaz [North Ossetia] … And he was probably in Chechnya too, and it is probably in Chechnya that his route [life] ended. We have information that he ended up at the [illegal] prison in Goity [a village in Chechnya]187 and was wiped off the ground with explosives.

Ibragim Gazdiev’s fate is still officially unknown. A criminal case into his abduction was launched by the procuracy of Karabulak. The official investigation has not yielded any results, despite the fact that Gazdiev was in the custody of state agents who are obligated to keep detention records and record who had contact with a detainee. Security services and police in Ingushetia claim that they did not detain Gazdiev.

Through his efforts to have the perpetrators brought to justice, Mukhmed Gazdiev became an active member of the protest movement in Ingushetia.188

Abductions of Khusein Mutsolgov and Zaurbek Yevloev and enforced disappearance of Khusein Mutsolgov

On May 5, 2007, Khusein Mutsolgov (born 1986) and Zaurbek Yevloev (born 1983) were abducted by unknown servicemen in the Nasyr-Kort district of Nazran.

According to eyewitnesses, at around 2:30 p.m., Mutsolgov and Yevloev were standing near Yevloev’s house when a dozen armed personnel in masks sped up to them in a minibus and a few passenger cars. The servicemen jumped out of the car and, without any warning, started beating the two young men and hitting them on their heads with the butts of submachine guns. The attackers put adhesive tape over the mouths of their unconscious victims, wads of cotton in their ears, bags over their heads, and threw them into the minibus and drove off, taking Mutsolgov’s car. Several hours later, at around 8 p.m., Zaurbek Yevloev called his relatives from the Chechen village of Assinovskaya on the Ingushetia border and asked them to pick him up. They were already looking for him. Mutsolgov’s mother told Human Rights Watch that Yevloev could not shed any light on the fate of Khusein Mutsolgov and gave only a brief account of what had happened,189

He [Yevloev] said they were in [the minibus] for some time but could not see or hear anything. They were then thrown into some kind of dark basement where they were beaten. And it had something to do with the FSB. The servicemen spoke Russian to them but he [Yevloev] wouldn’t tell us much. He kept saying he was very frightened. He did not say what kind of questions they were asked or anything. He was then put in a car and dumped out at some place in the outskirts of Assinovskaya. He does not know what happened to Khusein.

The Mutsolgovs learned from people whom they declined to name that Khusein spent several days at the FSB in Magas. Also, they read on the internet that later he was moved to the Goity illegal detention facility, and killed there.190 While as of December 2007 Human Rights Watch had no further information confirming Mutsulgov’s death, we received further confirmation about his presence in Goity. Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, who was held at Goity in September 2007 (see below), told Human Rights Watch he saw Mutsolgov’s name, as well as the names of several other individuals abducted from Ingushetia, written on the wall of his cell.191

Though the prosecutor’s office of Ingushetia promptly initiated a criminal investigation into the abduction of Khusein Mutsolgov, at this writing the investigation has yielded no result. When Human Rights Watch asked whether the Mutsolgovs had a lawyer working on the case, Khusein’s mother shrugged in despair, “We had one but then gave up on him. Why would we need a lawyer if Khusein is no more?”192

Enforced disappearance of Akhmet Kartoev

On May 22, 2007, Akhmet Kartoev (born 1977) was abducted in Nazran by unidentified armed personnel. According to eyewitnesses who spoke to Kartoev’s wife, Kartoev was driving through the center of Nazran at around 10 a.m. when his car was blocked by a white Gazel minibus. Several armed servicemen in masks and camouflage uniforms forced Kartoev to leave his car and step into their vehicle.  Then they drove off at a high speed.

On June 6 the prosecutor’s office of Nazran opened a criminal case into the abduction of Akhmet Kartoev,193 but the investigation was suspended two months later.

Kartoev’s family repeatedly pressed the prosecutor’s office and the FSB to try to find him, with no success. Akhmet Kartoev’s brother, Magomed, told Human Rights Watch,194

It’s a very lively area and there were many witnesses to his abduction. Today, however, they are all scared to speak about it. Those who said they saw it with their own eyes are now taking their testimonies back and saying that they had only heard about it from others. This is understandable, considering the time in which we all have to live. I wrote a complaint to the prosecutor general’s office and the investigation was eventually resumed. Then it was suspended again. I contacted the FSB, but they told me their people had nothing to do with the case, they were not competent to do anything, and it’s only the prosecutor’s office that could help me. Two months ago I was notified that the investigation was resumed once again, and the investigation committee of the prosecutor’s office of Ingushetia was handling it. In addition to the official investigation, we also used our connections [in the law enforcement agencies] and those of our relatives.

Magomed Kartoev believes the only explanation for his brother’s abduction was Akhmet’s religious affiliation,195

We don’t know what to think. My brother never had any problems with police or other [security] agencies. And no one in our family, which is much respected [in Ingushetia], has had any such problems. The only thing that comes to mind—Akhmet was religious. He often went to the mosque on a regular basis and said his prayers five times a day …

Considering that the law enforcement and security agencies in Ingushetia frequently suspect observant Muslims of being involved with the insurgents, it is not surprising that Magomed Kartoev thinks his brother’s strict adherence to Islam could be the reason behind his abduction. As of April 2008, prosecutorial authorities have been unable to identify the perpetrators and investigation has yielded no results. The fate and the whereabouts of Akhmet Kartoev remain unknown.

Abductions and Torture

Abduction, torture, and death of Murat Bogatyrev

A particularly disturbing case is the abduction and torture of Murad Bogatyrev on September 7, 2007, which resulted in his death that same day. This case clearly illustrates how individuals whose names are in the police and security agencies’ database, regardless of their actual police record, are likely to be abducted.

In mid-August, several weeks before his abduction, police and prosecution officials searched a tiny piece of land and a trailer Bogatyrev owned in Verkhnie Achaluki, a village in Malgobek district. At the time Bogatyrev was working outside Ingushetia, in Krasnodar. His wife, Eset Kulbuzheva, learned about the search from neighbors, and went to Verkhnie Achaluki. Kulbuzheva told Human Rights Watch,196

They stole our gold, some tapes, perfume, and 150,000 rubles [approximately US$6,300] in cash. They also broke everything. I ran to the procuracy, complained about the theft, and asked what happened. They did not even register my complaint but said that the servicemen were looking for Murat on allegations of involvement in the murder of that Russian teacher, Terekhina.197 They reassured me that the allegations had already proved to be inaccurate, and my husband would be left in peace.

Because their trailer had been made uninhabitable by the search, Bogatyrev, Kulbuzheva, and their young daughter went to live temporarily with Bogatyrev’s relatives in Nazran. According to Kulbuzheva, on the evening of September 6 the three went back to Verkhnie Achaluki, and Kulbuzheva decided to stay the night with her parents who live locally, but Murat stayed at the trailer as he wanted to do some repairs. The next morning, at around 6 a.m., Kulbuzheva was awakened by a phone call from Murat’s relatives who said that Murat had been taken away by armed personnel. Neighbors who witnessed the abduction told Kulbuzheva that a dozen servicemen had broken into the trailer, forced Marat into their vehicle, and drove off.198

Kulbuzheva got to the site as quickly as she could. A search of the yard and trailer was in progress. The search was carried out by the Malgobek police department and witnessed by the village administration head and several neighbors. The policemen gave Kulbuzheva a copy of the search report, confirming that nothing illegal was found on the premises.199

When Kulbuzheva and her relatives went to the Malgobek police department to look for Murat, the duty officer told them that he had been brought in for questioning. Kulbuzheva and the others were waiting at the police department, hoping that this would expedite Murat’s release, when they saw police bring out his body.

Eset Kulbuzheva told Human Rights Watch,200

I was just standing there and waiting. Soon, several servicemen carried out a body. It was naked; the head was covered with a t-shirt. I did not realize right away that it was my husband. And then I understood everything. I started crying. There were all those bruises on his body. There was an ambulance next to the gate and the nurses told me right away that they were supposed to take the body to the morgue in Malgobek. But my relatives, who rushed to the policemen, were told that the ambulance would take Murat to the emergency room. They did take him to the morgue, but to the morgue in Nazran. The body was returned to us later on the same day. What they did to him was so awful. All the bruises and blood … We photographed everything. But the police are claiming he died of heart failure.

When Eset Kulbuzheva returned to the trailer that afternoon, she saw that the policemen were back and conducting another search in the yard—this time without any witnesses and with no warrant. She suggested opening the trailer for them, but they said they needed only to recheck the outside area. During this search, law enforcement personnel found a lot of ammunition for submachine guns, as well as a grenade.

The prosecutor’s office promptly opened posthumous criminal charges against Bogatyrev for an attempt on the lives of law enforcement officials201 and illegal possession of ammunition.202 The case was then closed due to Bogatyrev’s death. The fact that the first search earlier that day did not yield any weaponry or ammunition, the absence of witnesses during the second search, and the neighbors’ testimonies that Murat Bogatyrev had not put up any violent resistance during detention call into question the validity of the posthumous charges against Bogatyrev.

Eset Kulbuzheva and her lawyer filed a complaint against the personnel of the Malgobek district police department, supporting it with photographs and a video of Murat Bogatyrev’s bruised body and a forensic medical report in which numerous traumas were noted, including multiple rib and sternum fractures and bruises and hematomas on the head, arms, left thigh, and right shoulder.203 

In October 2007 the procuracy opened a criminal case for “abuse of office.” However, despite credible evidence, on December 31 the investigation was suspended on grounds that the perpetrators could not be identified by prosecutorial authorities. Owing to pressure from Eset Kulbuzheva’s lawyer, the procuracy reopened the investigation into the case in mid-January 2008. At this writing, the investigation is ongoing.

Abduction and torture of Magomed Osmanovich Aushev204

On the morning of June 17, 2007, personnel of the FSB’s Ingushetia branch seized Magomed Osmanovich Aushev (born 1982) during a special operation on the Aushevs’ household (a family compound) in the village of Surkhakhi. During the operation they killed Aushev’s cousin, Ruslan Aushev (born 1982), whom they alleged to be an insurgent, and looted and damaged the family’s houses.205

FSB personnel dragged Magomed Osmanovich Aushev out of the house of his uncle, Isropil Aushev, forced him into a Gazel minibus, and told him that they were taking him to the FSB in Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia). In the car, they beat him and put a bag over his head. About an hour later he was taken out of the vehicle and led into a building. There, the bag was taken off his head and he saw many uniformed servicemen. Most of them spoke Ossetian to each other. Aushev told Human Rights Watch,206

I’m not sure if that building belongs to FSB or to the Department Against Organized Crime. They [servicemen] never told me. They took me to a room on the fourth floor and started torturing me. They tied wires to my toes and tortured me with electric currents. Every once in a while, they poured water all over me and then continued to give me electric shocks. They never asked me any questions. They simply said that they knew for a fact I was hiding my cousin [Ruslan Aushev] in the attic of our house, I knew he was an insurgent, and helped him. They also insisted that I knew about some storage of weapons. They said they would continue [the torture] until I confessed. They put a bag on my head again, threw me in a car and took me to a deserted place. They dropped me in a pit in the earth and started to bury me alive. While shoveling earth into the pit they recited mock prayers and told me that they “disappeared” many others just like this. Then, they took me out of the ground, put two bulletproof vests on me and started to shoot past me from close range. I passed out.

The torturers then took Aushev back to the same building and resumed torturing him with electric shocks, demanding that he confess to a number of insurgency-related crimes, and asking him to testify about individuals he did not know. Finally, a heavyset man wearing rubber gloves walked into the room and told Aushev to sign some papers if he wanted the torture to stop. He threatened Aushev with even more brutal torture if he refused. Aushev signed the papers without reading the contents.

When Aushev’s tormenters showed him one of the papers, he realized that he had signed a document saying that on June 1, 2007, he had agreed to accept 35,000 rubles from the FSB in exchange for putting a blue rag in the window of his house to indicate that Ruslan Aushev made an appearance. The document also stated that he had done that on July 17, the date of the special operation in Surkhakhi and Ruslan’s killing. They gave Aushev a cell phone number and instructed him to call it the next day to arrange for another meeting with FSB officials. Once Aushev consented, the servicemen put a bag on his head, put him in a car, and threw him out on the road close to Surkhakhi. As Magomed Osmanovich Aushev did not intend to follow through on this, he immediately informed his relatives of the situation and they sent him out of Ingushetia, to Astrakhan, to recuperate, hoping that the FSB would give up after a few months of his absence.

This was not the case. When Magomed Osmanovich Aushev was returning to Ingushetia via Grozny in September 2007 accompanied by his cousin, Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, the two young men were kidnapped by Chechen security forces on the outskirts of Grozny. They were taken to an illegal prison in the Chechen village of Goity and tortured there. The servicemen were planning to have them executed but, in the end, had to release their victims because of a particularly vibrant and massive public protest organized by the Aushev family. (The abduction in Grozny and the ensuing protests are detailed in Chapter IX, “Public Protests and Response of the Authorities.”)

Abduction and torture of Timur D.

In the North Caucasus, even law enforcement personnel can at times fall victim to abductions by security or police officials. A vivid illustration is the case of Timur D. (not his real name), who works for a law enforcement agency and was abducted on July 31, 2007, in Nazran.207

Timur D. was recuperating at the Ingushetia Republican Hospital after major surgery. On July 31, around 11 p.m., he went to buy some cigarettes at a nearby kiosk. He had not yet healed from surgery and walked very slowly with a heavy limp. On his way back to the hospital, he heard someone addressing him in Ingush, “Who are you?” He looked back and saw two VAZ vehicles behind him. Before he was able to answer the question, five or six armed servicemen in camouflage uniforms jumped out of the cars, put a black bag over his head, and dragged him into one of the vehicles. Timur told Human Rights Watch,208

They started beating me right away. I was suffocating under the bag and pleaded with them to take it off, but they only told me to shut up and keep quiet. They were driving for long time. Then, they stopped somewhere, took me out of the car, and pushed me into some kind of a house. I told them I worked for law enforcement and asked them to take me back to the hospital so I could show them my ID. They did not believe me. They started beating me again—on the head and in the groin. They beat me several times that night and demanded that I confess to being a rebel. The next morning, they tied me to a chair and beat me on the kidneys and the ribs. Some other people were screaming nearby. They must have been tortured too. I could not see any of the servicemen because they kept a bag on my head the whole time. But some of them were speaking Ingush, and others Chechen. Finally, they put me into a car and hit my head so hard that I fainted. When I came to, I found myself in a ditch next to a road.

Timur D. was dumped out of the car near the village of Nesterovskaya in Ingushetia, close to the border with Chechnya. Human Rights Watch spoke to one of Timur’s relatives, who also works for a law enforcement agency in Ingushetia. He felt very strongly that Timur D. only had himself to blame for the incident,209

Under the circumstances, he should not have any claims against anyone. If you’re in a hospital, why go for a walk at 11 or 12 at night, especially if you are limping? The servicemen saw a man with a limp going somewhere in the middle of the night. It’s only natural they thought it was suspicious. They could not but take him for an injured insurgent! They seized him, took him away, checked him, realized that they made a mistake, and finally threw him out. What’s there to complain about?

This remark by a law enforcement official is a powerful commentary on the contemporary situation in Ingushetia: law enforcement and security services feel themselves to be at liberty to detain and ill-treat anyone whom they believe to be acting in even a slightly suspicious manner.


Abduction of Uruskhan Inalov

Even in cases when detainees are neither disappeared nor tortured, the detention itself is conducted with such blatant procedural violations that it is unlawful and may be characterized as summary and arbitrary. An example of this is the detention of Uruskhan Inalov, whom authorities suspected of involvement in an attack on Interior Ministry troops on November 8, 2007, in Karabulak.210

On November 23, 2007, between 6 and 7 a.m., up to 25 security personnel surrounded the Inalov’s house in Nazran. Without identifying themselves or showing a warrant, they broke into the house. Uruskhan Inalov, age 28, was dragged out of bed without any explanation. Without letting him get dressed the servicemen pushed him outside and forced him to stand barefoot in the snow with his face against the hedge. Inalov’s younger brother was pushed face down on the ground and kept in that position for a half hour.

Uruskhan Inalov’s sister, Zarema, told Human Rights Watch,211

They [servicemen] were asking me and my sister all kinds of questions about our relatives and about some insurgents we’d never heard off. They were yelling, “You, bitch! You filthy animal!” They used all kind of terrible expressions. They looked all over the house without telling us what they were looking for. They did not give us any papers. We were very frightened. They took all of our mobile phones. The phones were returned but now, all of them are tapped.

The servicemen put Uruskhan Inalov in a car and took him away to an unknown destination. Fearing that he may be “disappeared,” Uruskhan Inalov’s cousins followed them from a distance and were able to see that the servicemen delivered him to the Karabulak police department. Uruskhan Inalov was charged with making an attempt on the lives of law enforcement officials212 and transferred to the remand prison in Pyatigorsk (Stavropol province). The family was not promptly notified of the transfer and had to make considerable efforts to locate him in custody. At this writing, the case against Inalov is pending.

Abduction of Malika Chabieva

Although it is young males who are most often summarily detained, in an exceptional case documented by Human Rights Watch, a woman, Malika Chabieva, was detained by security servicemen in this manner. Chabieva (born 1968),who fled from Chechnya to Ingushetia at the start of the second military campaign, was living in the Mekhstroi dormitory for internally displaced persons in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya.

Early in the afternoon of January 27, 2007, around 12:30 p.m., the Mekhstroi dormitory was surrounded by servicemen in masks and camouflage uniforms. Several armed men came into the room where Malika Chabieva lived with her four-year-old daughter and told her to get dressed and follow them. The servicemen, who did not identify themselves and presented no warrant, claimed that Malika was suspected of involvement in a terrorist attack in the town of Armavir (Krasnodar province) in 1997.213 The servicemen did not explain where they would be taking Chabieva but instructed her to leave her daughter with someone at the dormitory. Accompanied by the servicemen, Chabieva knocked on the door to the room of her sister, Aza, handed her the keys, pushed the girl into the room and said, “They’re taking me away.”214 Then one of the servicemen ordered her to close the door. Aza tried to come out and ask questions but she was forcibly pushed back into the room and told to keep still.

When the servicemen left, Aza went to the Sunzha district prosecutor’s office to complain about her sister’s detention. Prosecutor’s office officials refused to register the complaint but promised to find out which security agency was behind the operation. After making several phone calls they told Aza Chabieva that her sister was being held at the FSB in Magas.

On the same day, another sister of theirs, Aset Chabieva, was taken to the FSB for interrogation about her contacts with an alleged insurgent. She was released two hours later. 

Several days later, Aza was contacted by an FSB official who informed her that her sister was being transferred to a remand prison in Krasnodar.  Malika Chabieva described her experience to Human Rights Watch,215

I hoped they were only taking me to the local police station, so when we drove out of Ordzhonikidzevskaya [village] onto the highway, I got really scared. There, we entered the secured grounds of a large new building. I did not know it was the FSB—I only understood this later on. They interrogated me, asked about my family and about a woman by the name of Elbika who lived in the same tent camp with us at the very beginning of the war and who, according to them, was a rebel fighter. When they transferred me to Krasnodar, they did not explain anything.

The day after Chabieva’s detention, the head of the Ingushetia Ministry of Internal Affairs press service, Nazir Yevloev, gave an interview to Nezavisimaya Gazeta in which he claimed that Chabieva was seized by the FSB and police because law enforcement agencies had grounds to believe that she was responsible for a series of grave crimes. According to Yevloev, Chabieva was a member of an all-female sniper unit that had played an active role in fighting federal forces during the first Chechen campaign. He also said that Chabieva was involved in the terrorist attack at the train station in Armavir on April 23, 1997.216

On March 28, 2007, Malika Chabieva was released from custody as the accusations against her could not be substantiated. She lives in fear of further detention, particularly as the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs never published a retraction and her name is in the databases of the law enforcement and security agencies.

171 Human Rights Watch interview with a Memorial researcher, Alexander Cherkassov,, March 16, 2008. Memorial’s statistical table of killings and abductions for 2007 quotes 30 abductions for 2007, but one of those individuals was in fact a relative of President Zyazikov abducted by insurgents and released several months later. See (accessed June 12, 2008).

172 See Chapter IV of this report.

173 Human Rights documented a total of 10 abductions, though one of the cases was not included into this report due to lack of eyewitness testimony.

174 ICCPR art. 9; ECHR art. 5.

175 ECHR art. 3; Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture), adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by G.A. Res. 39/46 (entered into force June 26, 1987), ratified by Russia on March 3, 1987.

176 ICCPR, arts. 2(3) and 7; Convention against Torture, art. 4; ECHR arts. 3 and 13. For European Court findings specifically related to effective investigation into alleged violations of article 3, see Assenov and others v. Bulgaria, no. 24760/94, judgment of October 28, 1998, para. 102; Sakik and others v. Turkey, no. 31866/96, judgment of October 10, 2000, para. 62; and Chitayev and Chitayev v. Russia, no. 59334/00, judgment of 18 January 2007, paras. 163-166.

177 ECHR, art. 2; UN Human Rigths Committee, General Comment No. 6, The right to life (Article 6), para. 4; Convention on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by UN General Assembly on December 20, 2006. For European Court findings see, inter alia, Bazorkina v. Russia, no. 69481/01, judgment of 27 July 2006, para. 103.

178 UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 6, The right to life (Article 6), para. 4. For European Court findings see, inter alia, Bazorkina v. Russia, paras. 117-119; and Imakayeva v. Russia, no. 7615/02, judgment of 9 November 2006, paras. 147-148.

179 Imakayeva v. Russia, para. 155; Alikhadzhiyeva v. Russia, no. 68007/01, judgment of 5 July 2007, para. 70.

180 Bazorkina v. Russia, paras. 104-105, McKerr v. UK, para. 109, Ikincisoy v. Turkey, paras. 68-69.

181 Imakayeva v. Russia, paras. 114-115.

182 Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhmed Gazdiev, father of Ibragim Gazdiev, Karabulak, Ingushetia, December 25, 2007.

183 Mukhmed Gazdiev described this to Human Rights Watch, but refused to name the witness out of fear for the latter’s security.

184 Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhmed Gazdiev, December 25, 2007.

185 Mukhmed Gazdiev does not remember his name.

186 Human Rights Watch interview with Mukhmed Gazdiev, December 25, 2007.

187 For details on an illegal prison allegedly run by security services in Goity, a small village in the Urus-Martan district of Chechnya, see Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 4.5 ,“Illegal detentions and abductions with the objective of obtaining information or recruiting agents,” (Незаконные задержания и похищения с целью  получения информации и вербовки. Незаконные места содержания). Also, the Aushev cousins, Magomed Osmanovich Aushev and Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, who were held prisoner in Goity in September 2007 (see Chapter IX of this report “Public Protests and Response by Authorities”), gave a detailed description of the prison to Human Rights Watch. The description was not included in this report as the prison is located outside of Ingushetia. Human Rights Watch interview with Magomed Osmanovich Aushev, Nazran, Ingushetia, October 25, 2007; Human Rights Watch interview with Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, Nazran, Ingushetia, December 25, 2007. Also, for the case of abduction of Magomed Osmanovich Aushev and his subsequent torture see section “Abduction and Torture” below in this chapter of the report.

188 For details on public protests in Ingushetia and the role of Mukhmed Gazdiev, see Chapter IX of this report, “Public Protests and the Response of the Authorities.”

189 Human Rights Watch interview with the mother of Khusein Mutsolgov, Nazran, Ingushetia, December 27, 2007.

190 Mutsolgov’s mother did not name the source of the internet information but she most probably read it on the opposition website, which published a lot of information on the detention facility in Goity.

191 Human Rights Watch interview with Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, December 25, 2007.

192 Human Rights Watch interview with the mother of Khusein Mutsolgov, December 27, 2007.

193 A copy of the order to open the criminal case, #07560051, is on file with Human Rights Watch.

194 Human Rights Watch interview with Magomed Kartoev, Nazran, Ingushetia, December 25, 2007.

195 Ibid.

196 Human Rights Watch interview with Eset Kulbuzheva, Nazran, Ingushetia, December 25, 2007.

197 For information on the killing of Terekhina and her family, see Chapter IV of this report.

197 Ibid., art. 222.

198 Human Rights Watch interview with Eset Kulbuzheva, December 25, 2007.

199 A copy of the protocol is on file with Human Rights Watch.

200 Human Rights Watch interview with Eset Kulbuzheva, December 25, 2007.

201 Russian Criminal Code, art. 317.

202 Ibid., art. 222.

203 The video and a copy of the forensic report are on file with Human Rights Watch.

204 There are three Magomed Aushevs mentioned in this report, all cousins. For two of them their patronymic (middle) names are known to Human Rights Watch and are used here to distinguish them; the third, whose patronymic we do not know, is the only one to be identified throughout just as Magomed Aushev.

205 For details on the June 17 special operation in Surkakhi, see Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше), Section 4.4, “On the special operation in the Aushevs’ household, illegal detention and torture of Magomed Aushev,” (Спецоперация в домовладении Аушевых, незаконное задержание и пытки Магомеда Аушева). Human Rights Watch has insufficient information to comment on the circumstances and lawfulness of Ruslan Aushev’s killing.

206 Human Rights Watch interview with Magomed Osmanovich Aushev, Nazran, Ingushetia, October 25, 2007.

207 Human Rights Watch has withheld the name of the agency in order to protect Timur D.’s identity.

208 Human Rights Watch interview with Timur D. (real name withheld at his request), Magas, Ingushetia, December 23, 2007.

209 Human Rights Watch interview with a relative of Timur D., name withheld by request, Ekazhevo, Ingushetia, December 23, 2007.

210 For details, see “The policemen wounded in Ingushetia are in grave condition,” Kavkazskiy Uzel, November 9, 2007, (accessed March 28, 2008).

211 Human Rights Watch interview with Zarema Inalova, Plievo, Ingushetia, December 25, 2007. She backed here suspicion of phone-tapping by explaining that whenever she or other family-members talk on their respective phones they hear strange sounds and the connection is frequently interrupted.

212 Russian Criminal Code, art. 317.

213 In April 1997 three people died and ten were wounded in a terrorist attack at the train station of Armavir. See Vadim Samokatov, “‘Public transportation’ equals ‘mass death’,” (‘Общественный транспорт’ равно ‘массовая смерть’), Utro.Ru, September 1, 2004, (accessed March 29, 2008).

214 Human Rights Watch interview with Aza Chabieva, Orzhonikidzevskaya, Ingushetia, December 27, 2007.

215 Human Rights Watch interview with Malika Chabieva, Ordzhonikidzevskaya, Ingushetia, December 27, 2007.

216 Alexander Shapovalov, “A sniper detained 10 years later,” (Снайпера задержали через 10 лет), Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), January 29, 2007, quoting head of the Ingushetia Ministry of Internal Affairs press service Nazir Yevloev. Article reproduced at, (accessed March 31, 2008).