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Chechen–British man ‘detained and tortured’ in Chechnya

12 June 2023
Magomed Abubakarov. Image via Memorial.

A British national from Chechnya is reportedly being held and tortured at an ‘illegal prison’ in Chechnya for his alleged involvement in the 2009 Urus-Martan suicide bombing.

Memorial, a Russian civil rights organisation, claimed that Chechen authorities abducted Magomed Abubakarov in the city of Urus-Martan in Chechnya on 31 May.

The group said that Chechen security personnel escorted Abubakarov from his home in the city ‘under the pretext of checking his phone’.

Abubakarov, a British national who had resided in the United Kingdom for ten years, was visiting his family in Chechnya at the time of his abduction.

Memorial claimed that the Chechen police were torturing and coercing Abubakarov to confess to being directly involved in the 2009 Urus-Martan suicide bombing, an attack that killed one soldier and injured two others.

Abubakarov was previously charged with aiding an illegal armed formation and sentenced to a year and three months in prison for his alleged involvement in the attack.

He is reportedly being held with Umar Masaev, another Chechen suspected of participating in the 2009 attack, in an ‘illegal prison’. He has not been allowed to speak to his lawyer, according to Memorial.

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‘According to our information, a two-story temporary detention facility was built on the territory of the Kurchaloevsky District Department of Internal Affairs a few years ago. Officially, it does not function — but kidnapped residents of the republic are illegally kept in it. Magomed Abubakarov and Umar Masaev are located there’, read the group’s statement.

Abubakarov had reportedly previously visited Chechnya since moving to the UK in 2013 without issue.

Memorial claimed that the British authorities could not contact Abubakarov’s relatives in Chechnya.