Dagestan: disappearing people
In response to mass human abductions in Dagestan, a public organization has been set up, which unites the next of kin of the victims of this malignant practice.
A typical case
As The Caucasian Knot reported, Shamil Jamalutdinov, a national of Dagestan, was abducted by the law-enforcers on his way from Manas to Kaspiysk, late on September 27.
Dagestan MoI official stated on October 3, Shamil Jamalutdinov was detained for complicity with illegal formations. As he pointed out, Jamalutdinov had been issued an arrest warrant.
However, Jamalutdinov’s relatives are unaware of his whereabouts up to now.
Shamil Jamalutdinov’s wife, Madina, believes, the law-enforcers had no grounds to suspect him of extremists. She refers to him and herself as an ‘ordinary married couple from Dagestan.’
The relatives claim, Shamil Jamalutdinov, 24, is an ordinary young guy, who every day goes to work to the cement plant early in the morning. In his wife’s words, they found out that he had been under MoI’s preventive supervision after they returned home from vacation in Turkey last year.
“We returned from Turkey in October last year. A few months later, we were stopped at the checkpoint on our way from Buynaksk to Kaspiysk. They refused to release my husband for quite a long time. Then we learned that he had been under the so-called preventive supervision, Madina recalls.
Registration of Dagestan citizens for preventive supervision has been a common practice in the republic. According to the human rights activists, the grounds for putting people on such register are often that a person wears beard or attends the mosque. The practice of registering people for MoI’s preventive supervision against the background of the law-enforcers’ impunity in no way leads to stabilization of the situation in the North Caucasus, quite the contrary, it causes radicalization of the youth – stated the participants in a roundtable discussion, held in Moscow on June 27-28.
The police officers were closely inquiring, what they had been doing in Turkey. Shamil was trying to convince them that they had travelled there on vacation. He showed them the photos that he’d taken there. However, that didn’t satisfy the police and they set a condition: in order to be de-registered it was necessary to collect his characteristics from all the neighbors.
But the young family didn’t take their words seriously and did nothing. At the same time, Shamil’s problems didn’t occur right away, Madina noted.
“He calmly walked around the city. He didn’t observe that he was being watched. There was no reason to think that he might be suspected, said his wife.
In his wife’s words, shortly before he disappeared, he’d promised to sell cement to Khasavyurt residents, who, as it became known later, had also gone missing.
The relatives of Khasavyurt residents-Khashim Uzdanov, Pakhrudin Makhayev and Islam Magomedov, jointly with Shamil Jamalutdinov’s next of kin, appealed to Makhachkala-based office of the ‘Memorial’ organization, requesting to assist them in finding their relatives.
“In the first few days, we thought that he had been detained and we would soon be informed on his whereabouts. However, when we found out that the phones of all three persons, whom he had been with that night, were also turned off, we understood that he was most likely abducted, says Shamil’s wife.
The relatives tried to find the young man themselves. The only clue they could find was a video footage from the checkpoint CCTV camera at the entrance to Makhachkala, showing Shamil’s car entering the city. After that his traces disappeared.
The relatives of 4 abducted young men rallied several times in Makhachkala square to draw the authorities’ attention. The next of kin of those, who had gone missing at different times, also joined them.
The law-enforcement official claimed, none of the missing persons were in the law-enforcement agencies, and that the criminal and investigative proceedings had been instituted to find out their whereabouts.
“We pin hopes on investigation, that they will find my husband. However, none of us have been summoned so far to the Investigative Committee for interrogation. They were supposed to provide us with certain information on October 18, but we didn’t get any information, said Madina.
Shamil Jamalutdinov’s relatives held several rallies jointly with the relatives of other missing Dagestanis, demanding to find out their whereabouts.
On October 14, during a rally in Khasavyurt, the mothers of the missing Dagestanis decided to set up a public movement. They intend to take countermeasures against abduction and render assistance to the abduction victims.
According to the ‘Memorial’ Human Rights Center’s estimates, 12 persons were abducted in the republic presumably by the law-enforcers less than in three weeks, from September 19 till October 4.
“Mass abductions began in 2010…We could see that abductions started, continued and increased, but we don’t know what’s the reason for that, Sirazhudin Datsiev, representative of the ‘Memorial’ Human Rights Center in Dagestan, told The Caucasian Knot.
If a missing person doesn’t show up within 2-3 days and there are no reports that he’s been taken to any district police station, in 90% of cases he will never be found alive, says Shamil Isayev, a lawyer at the Russian Justice Initiative (RJI), which provides legal assistance to the victims of human rights violations, including in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“Either an abducted person’s whereabouts won’t be traced, or his body will be found among those, killed in some special operation, Shamil Isayev told The Caucasian Knot reporter.
According to the human rights activists, over the years the law-enforcers have been engaged in framing-up cases against the abducted citizens of Dagestan. The law-enforcers ascribe people’s disappearance to their alleged ‘going into forest’, they institute criminal proceedings that are terminated due to the suspects’ death in clashes with the law-enforcers or suicide bombing.
“In case, the law-enforcement agencies fail to take necessary measures to find missing persons, they could be pinned down to do that though the European Court, Russian Justice Initiative NGO pointed out.
For example, in early summer, this human rights organization started dealing with the case of Sirazhudin Aliyev and Gazimagomed Abdulayev, the residents of Makhachkala, who were abducted in 2012. In July 2016, the European Court of Human Rights ruled out in favor of the relatives of the missing and ordered that the claimants be paid EUR120,000 as a compensation.