On 12 September, a court in the Russian Republic of Chechnya convicted 14 men of ‘participation in an illegal armed formation’ and ‘illegal purchase and possession of weapons’. The trial was held in secret, with relatives claiming they were promised the men would receive lighter sentences if they did not contact rights groups or the media.
For several years, young Daghestani men have been disappearing, reported missing by their families only later to be declared ‘destroyed in counterterrorism operations’. Evidence from the families of many of these men as well as local rights groups and experts, suggest they may have been kidnapped by the authorities, and that faking the war on terror is just another face of Daghestan’s raging corruption.
The Commission on adaptation of militants coming back from Syria to peaceful life has functioned in Kabardino-Balkaria for over 6 years. Despite its mandate to reintegrate former militants into society, a number of high-profile prosecutions has raised doubts over the authorities’ true commitment to peacefully returning them to civilian life.
On Friday, former employees of Ingushetia’s Centre for Countering Extremism were sentenced by a court in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Neither the prosecution nor the defence was satisfied with the verdict, although many activists maintained that sentencing was ‘a huge achievement for human right defenders in the North Caucasus’.
Timur Khamkhoyev, the former head of the Ingush Interior Ministry’s Department for Combating Extremism (Centre E) on trial for torturing suspects has said he is the victim of a political intrigue. Khamkhoyev made the comments in court on Friday in the city of Nalchik, where his trial kicked off in May.
Magomed Khazbiyev, a well-known Ingush opposition figure and public activist, has been in a detention facility in the town of Karabulak since 11 January. He is being accused of illegal possession of weapons. He claims that the charges have been fabricated. His lawyers insist upon his release. Khazbiyev suffers from ulcers and skin disease. A suspect under investigation with such diseases should be released for treatment.
A journalist in South Ossetia says she is facing pressure from the authorities, for an article about an alleged disagreement between the South Ossetian leader and an influential Russian investor. After her office was searched, Irina Kelekhsayeva says she was asked to leave her job. [Read more…]
The Supreme Court of South Ossetia has ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses are an extremist organisation, effectively outlawing them.
Tamara Mearakishvili, a journalist and activist in South Ossetia, was detained in the town of Akhalgori (Leningor) at around 17:20 on 16 August while local police searched her house for ‘extremist literature’.
Russia’s anti-extremism centres are notorious for their brutal torture. Here are the stories of its victims in Ingushetia, where for the first time, some of the organisation’s operatives face trial for their crimes.