Daghestan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has refused to launch a criminal investigation against a group of men who attacked the journalists on 12 June during an anti-corruption rally. According to police, the actions of these men didn’t constitute a crime.
Four men dressed in civilian clothes who refused to identify themselves or show any documents attacked journalists covering the event, taking their phones, hitting their cameras, and breaking the camera of one journalist from Caucasian Knot.
Journalists appealed to police the same day to launch a criminal investigation for ‘obstruction of the lawful professional activity of journalists’.
The journalist from Caucasian Knot later withdrew her complaint, but did not comment on why.
On 6 July, Chernovik reported that police would not launch an investigation into this case, because they ‘could not identify signs of a crime’.
According to Chernovik, all four attackers, brothers Karim and Kamil Kasumovs, Gairbek Akhmedov, and employee of the Kirov Administration of Makhachkala, Surkhay Magomedov, are the natives of Daghestan’s Tlaratin District, and are close to Daghestani Head Ramazan Abdulatipov.
Chernovik journalist Saida Vagabova, whose phone was taken by Magomedov during the rally, filed a complaint to police. Vagabova recently learned that police in the Sovetsky District where she made her complaint filed it as merely a witnesses statement.
‘They could have filed at least some kind of administrative offense’
‘When we came to the police station to declare the violations of our rights, the man on duty gave our lawyer an application form to fill in. I described what happened, how the man pushed me, deprived me of my phone. I attached a photo of the attacker and also a video depicting me being pushed and how they took away my phone’, Vagabova told OC Media, adding that police never contacted them, and they haven’t been questioned.
She also says that Surkhay, when arrested, told the investigating officer that he hadn’t interfered with journalists, but only went over to break up a fight.
Police did not consider video evidence of the incidents. Another employee of Chernovik, Bariyat Idrisova, called the investigation of the Sovietsky District police department ‘biased’.
‘They could have filed at least some kind of administrative offense, but didn’t even do that’, she told OC Media.
The journalists plan to appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office once they receive official documentation of the police’s decision.
According to a source in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the editors of Chernovik have appealed to the ministry to consider the complaints of their journalists. According to the source, Minister Abdurashid Magomedov ‘has already instructed us to deal with this issue’.