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Five teenagers detained in Daghestan accused of ‘going to jihad’

18 August 2020
A police search for the boys. Photo: Chernovik.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained five teenagers in the central Daghestani city of Khasavyurt who they accuse of forming an armed group to attack the police.

A spokesperson for the FSB in Daghestan told OC Media that five boys aged 15–17 were detained on Sunday. They said the boys were suspected of being members of an armed group, and that non-firearm weapons and camouflage uniforms had been seized from them.

According to the FSB, the group planned to commit a series of armed attacks on police officers across Daghestan — in Makhachkala, Khasavyurt, and Derbent.

According to the FSB, they were alerted by the boys’ parents after they left home leaving behind notes of their intentions.

On Monday, a video appeared on social media in which one of the boys said that ‘the group’s goal was to establish Sharia law on this land’ and that he ‘went to jihad to create a group, a jamaat, capable of fighting’.

‘We trusted in Allah, wanted to establish Sharia law on this land and drive the invaders out of here. As a result, due to uncoordinated actions, we were detained for the sake of Allah’, he said.

According to Russian news site MediaZona, the video was released by the FSB.

On Monday, all five were remanded into two months of pre-trial detention.

Teenage terror suspects in Daghestan

This is the second terror-related case in Daghestan in recent years involving suspects under the age of 18.

On 8 June 2020, the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced four people to between 9 and 16 years in prison. 

The four, all residents of Buinaksk, a town near the capital Makhachkala, were arrested in October 2018. Two of them were 19-years-old at the time while the other two were under 18. 

The four disappeared from their homes between 18–19 October before their relatives learnt they had been detained several days later.

They were initially charged with creating an illegal armed group and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition. A year later, terrorism charges were added. 

All four insisted they were innocent and claimed that their initial confessions, as well as a videotaped pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State, were made under torture. 

An examination of the footage carried out for the defence by the Saint Petersburg Institute of Independent Expertise and Evaluation concluded that it was staged, however, the court did not admit this evaluation as evidence.

All four claimed in court that they were abducted in various locations in Buinaksk by law enforcement officials before being tortured with electric current, beaten, and forced to confess.

[Read more: Teens from Daghestan accuse police of forcing them to swear oath to the Islamic State]

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