The trial is practically unprecedented in Russia - torture and even the murder of detainees is a common pheonomenon " />

Security forces in Ingushetia on trial for torture

The trial is practically unprecedented in Russia - torture and even the murder of detainees is a common pheonomenon

A demonstration against torture in St Petersburg on 21 May. Photo: Elena Lukyanova, Novaya Gazeta

Based on information from Novaya Gazeta

A trial is taking place in Ingushetia which is practically unprecedented for Russia.

The 45-year-old former head of the Centre for Combating Extremism, Timur Khamkhoev, and six others are on trial for abusing detainees.

From next week onwards the trial will take place on a daily basis and promises to be very interesting. Two days before it began, an attempt was made on the life of the head prosecutor of the case. At dawn, unidentified individuals threw a grenade into his courtyard. A guard was heavily wounded but the prosecutor was not injured.

Russia’s criminal code has no definition for torture, which is why the main article under which the accusation has been put forward is No. 286: ‘Abuse of Authority With the Use of Violence’.

Khamkhoev was arrested in December 2017 for extortion. Investigators say that he and an employee of the Ingushetia FSB, Mustafa Tsoroev, extorted a million roubles from Azerbaijani businessman Amal Nazarov.

Nazarov himself wrote a statement to the FSB in which he enthusiastically requested that they investigate the case. Over the course of the investigation, cases of torture were uncovered. Of note was the case of 50-year-old Magomed Doliev.

On 11 June 2016, unidentified individuals robbed a bank in the Ingush city of Sunzha. Doliev’s wife, Marem, was working in the bank and was called in by the city police department for questioning.

“They put a black bag over my head and taped it up completely, they left me a little slit for air,” Marem said regarding the interrogation.

“There they first beat me and afterwards took me to the Centre for Combating Extremism. Then they put me on a chair and tied my hands. They beat me over the head with something heavy. They put wires on my fingers and gave me electric shocks, they shocked me in the stomach as well. They demanded that I confess to the robbery.”

Marem’s husband was detained almost the same time as her. He was taken to ‘Centre E’ where he was tortured, and they demanded that he confess to robbing the bank. Doliev was strangled, beaten and shocked. Marem was sitting in the room next door and was forced to listen to the screams of her husband. Doliev died that night in the Centre for Combating Extremism as a result of the torture. Marem was sent home and ordered to remain quiet.

Doliev’s death was passed off as a heart attack. However, his relatives immediately publicly accused the employees of the Centre for Combating Extremism of his murder. Although Marem’s testimony openly accused Timur Khamkhoev and others, neither the medical testimony, traces of torture on her body nor the statements by his relatives at the prosecutor’s office brought any results. It is difficult to launch a criminal case in Russia in such events and even if it goes through, the case is launched not against concrete individuals but against ‘unidentified individuals’.

Many of the victims and witnesses are accusing not only those who are now on trial of torture – they have also given other names of police officers, who, however, do not appear in the case, not even as suspects.

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