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Makhachkala court allows police to withhold information on ‘supervision list’ in an unprecedented ruling

9 March 2017

On 6 March, the Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala dismissed the lawsuit of Magomed Gadzhiyev, a member of the public council at the city’s Tanghim Mosque, against the Sovetsky District’s Department of Internal Affairs (ROVD). Gadzhiyev was trying to find out whether or not he was included on the ‘preventive supervision list’ (profuchot), which imposes restrictions on freedom of movement.

Gadzhiyev asked the court to recognise that the Sovetsky ROVD violated the law and to oblige it to respond to his request for information regarding his inclusion in the list. The court rejected Gadzhiyev’s lawsuit; the reason for the refusal will become clear in a few days, when the judge provides the written account of their decision.

Gadzhiyev told OC Media that he had accidentally discovered from the police that his name was included on the list, without ever having been officially notified about it. In December 2016, he was detained on the street near Tanghim Mosque, and taken to the police station in Makhachkala’s Sovetsky District. Following the incident, Gadzhiyev requested that the police verify whether his name was included in their database.

‘At the station they told me that I was included on the preventive supervision list. Yet since I don’t have an official notice, I can’t appeal it. That’s why I wrote a letter to the head of the ROVD, asking them to answer whether I was included in the register or nor’, Gadzhiyev told OC Media.

Gadzhiyev said that he didn’t receive any answer within the official deadline of one month. This is was when the he filed a lawsuit.

‘I immediately sued the head of the ROVD for their inaction. The interests of the ROVD were represented by their legal adviser, Ramazanov. He presented objections to the court, claiming that my letter was improperly drafted and a copy of my passport wasn’t attached. He also argued that the ROVD wasn’t an independent legal entity and for this reason it couldn’t give out such information. The legal adviser referred to some kind of instruction. When I consulted these objections with several lawyers, they called it a “substitution of concepts”. This instruction, which Ramazanov was referring to, actually says that the ROVD is supposed to give answers, except in two situations: if there is no return address or no surname of the applicant’, Gadzhiyev said.

Gadzhiyev claims that he’s planning to continue fighting for his rights, by either appealing the judge’s decision or making another request for information from the ROVD.

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