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Monday, January 22, 2007

Russia Convicted of Torture in Chechnya as Sham Amnesty Closes

Strade's Chechyna list reports on a recent conviction by the European Court for Human Rights which finds Russia guilty of torture in state detention facilities in Chechnya:

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Russia in the first torture case from Chechnya to be heard by the Court, Stichting Russian Justice Initiative, a legal aid organization representing the applicants, said today. In its judgment, the Court held that the applicants Adam and Arbi Chitayev had been held in unacknowledged detention, that they had been subjected to torture, and that the Russian authorities have not properly investigated their allegations. On 12 April 2000, the brothers Adam and Arbi Chitayev were detained by Russian military servicemen in their home in the village Achkhoy-Martan in Chechnya, Russia, and taken to the local police-station where they were questioned about the activities of Chechen fighters. They were later taken to the Chernokozovo detention center in north-west Chechnya. During their detention both at the Achkhoy-Martan police-station and at the Chernokozovo detention center, the brothers were subjected to a range of torture methods: they were handcuffed to a chair and beaten; electric shocks were applied to various parts of their bodies; they were forced to stand for a long time in a stretched position; their arms were twisted; they were beaten with rubber truncheons and with plastic bottles filled with water; they were strangled with adhesive tape, with a cellophane bag and a gas mask; dogs were set on them; parts of their skin were torn away with pliers and more.
In light of this, "President" Putin's recent crazed diatribe, as reported on Siberian Light, in which he claimed that Russia was not guilty of any Guantanamo- like violations, seems quite absurd indeed. America has not been convicted in the EHCR over Gitmo, as far as LR is aware.

At the same time, the
New York Times reported on on the end of the Kremlin's sham amnesty campaign seeking rebel surrender in return for a promise of no prosecution. Interfax reported that 546 people had applied for amnesty, while Nikolai V. Kalugin, the deputy prosecutor of Chechnya, put the figure at 467. Kavkaz Center, the rebel website, stated that most of those who applied were "kidnapped relatives of mujahedeen or ordinary people or disguised Kadyrovites or even prisoners who were promised freedom if they play the role of militants" and Kalugin agreed that " most of those who sought amnesty were low-level militants or commanders leading formations of no more than six or seven fighters, and that no prominent separatists had come forward." In a classic neo-Soviet move, the Kremlin provided absolutely no data that could be used to verify its claims. The Times stated: "The government did not publish a roster of the militants it said had surrendered, making an independent accounting impossible."

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