Family of 28 y.o. man tortured and killed in police custody in S. Ossetia demands fair investigation
The family of Inal Dzhabiev, a young man killed and presumably tortured to death in police custody in South Ossetia in August 2020, has been protesting for two days now.
The new round of protests is connected with the conclusion of an official examination, which names the cause of death of Dzhabiev ‘withdrawl symptoms.’
The family rejects the result of the study and states that the protesters will not leave until a fair investigation is conducted and those responsible punished.
On the evening of December 6, about 50 people stood on the square in front of the government building in Tskhinval, including the mother and wife of Inal Dzhabiev. He was 28 years old and had three young children.
The crowds spent the previous night on the benches. By the approaching second night, they tried to protect themselves from the rain by making a canopy of cellophane, fastening it to the branches of trees.
However, the police cut off this impromptu “roof”. The protest demonstration was not sanctioned, the police surrounded the protesters with a tight ring, no one was allowed to approach them and they were asked to go home.
Social media users have been calling on the public to “support the Dzhabiev family and stand by.”
Inal Dzhabiev was detained in Tskhinval on suspicion of an attempt on the life of South Ossetian Interior Minister Igor Naniev and a few days later, on August 28, died at the police station, presumably as a result of torture.
After a protest broke out and following several rallies, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was removed from office, the entire government resigned, and five police officers were detained. However, the opposition, including 17 members of parliament, are demanding the resignation of Prosecutor General Uruzmag Dzhagaev and an open investigation of the facts of violence against prisoners.
On December 5, the Dzhabiev’s brother Atsamaz was present at the rally. However, on December 6, he was put on the wanted list. As reported, ‘Atsamaz Dzhabiev insulted representatives of the authorities with obscene phrases on the premises of the Tskhinvali Prosecutor’s Office on November 11 and on the Teatralnaya Square of the capital on December ‘.”
Atsamaz was detained in August 2020 together with Inal on the same suspicion of plotting to make an attempt on the life of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but after his brother’s death he was released.
Two other persons arrested in the case of the attempted murder of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Nikolai Tskhovrebov and Gersan Kulumbegov – were seriously injured as a result of beatings and torture in the detention center. Tskhovrebov’s spine is damaged and he cannot walk.
The response of the authorities
The latest action by the authorities was to open a criminal case against the head of the criminal investigation department, Colonel Dzhemal Bibilov.
He is accused of “dishonest attitude to the service, which led to the death of Inal Dzhabiev and harm to the health of Nikolai Tskhovrebov and Gersan Kulumbegov.”
Also on December 6, the Prosecutor General’s Office announced a change in the measure of restraint in relation to the two accused in the Dzhabiev case – from detention to being put on the no-fly list.
Minister of Internal Affairs Merab Pukhaev met with Dzhabiev’s family and said that “the investigation is underway and all those responsible will be punished.” He also urged them to “keep order and disperse.”