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Chechen man ‘abducted and held in basement’ for past six months

23 February 2021
Usman Mitayev.

A Chechen man has been abducted by police and held for six months in an attempt to frame him for financing terrorism, local sources have told OC Media.

Thirty-five-year-old Usman Mitayev was allegedly kidnapped by police from his home in Chechnya’s second-biggest city, Urus-Martan, on 1 October 2020.

A close friend of Mitayev’s approached OC Media with information on Mitayev’s disappearance.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous for his own safety, said Mitayev was being held in a basement of the Oktyabrsky District Police Department in Grozny.

Another source in Urus-Martan confirmed to OC Media that Mitayev had been missing for several months.

OC Media reached out to Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs in Grozny who said they ‘had no knowledge’ of Mitayev being detained. 

The Oktyabrsky District Police Department in Grozny denied that Mitayev was being held on their premises and told OC Media they were not aware of his whereabouts. 

There is no information about the detention of Usman Mitayev on the website of Chechnya’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

‘Framed into financing terrorism’

Mitayev’s friend told OC Media that the police had approached Mitayev’s family and threatened to harm him if they contacted the Prosecutor’s Office or human rights activists.

According to him, before Mitayev’s detention he had worked in a mobile phone store in Chechnya’s largest shopping centre, the Grand Park in Grozny.

He told OC Media that one of Mitayev’s acquaintances was detained by security forces last summer, and under torture had testified that he made Mitayev transfer money to a friend in Turkey.

He claimed the police were trying to frame Mitayev for transferring money to a participant of the war in Syria.

‘Because of the transfer of money to a friend’s friend in Turkey, they are trying to pin financing terrorism on him, but there is absolutely nothing to pin, so they have been keeping him in the basement for six months’, he told OC Media.

[Read about fabricating terrorism cases in Chechnya: Novaya Gazeta: Russian police forced abductees to swear allegiance to ISIS before killing them]

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