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Makhachkala mosque-goers detained en masse

14 July 2017
Tanghim Mosque (Facebook)

About 15 people were detained in Makhachkala on 12 July after a night prayer in Tanghim Mosque on Vengerskikh Boytsov Street. The mosque is locally known as the ‘Salafi mosque’.

The mosque’s imam, Nigmatulla Radzhabov, told OC Media that he tried to negotiate with police when he saw that men were being detained, but they pushed him away.

‘When I left the mosque, our men were already being detained. There were seven police officers there, and four of their cars were parked there. The security forces were wearing uniforms, but the cars were unmarked — one jeep and [Lada] Prioras. I saw them hold one young congregant. This guy didn’t even have time to perform the namaz [prayer], he was late. I went up to them and asked them why they were taking him. They answered that the guy had no documents. He said then that he had his documents and showed his passport. The policeman put his passport into his pocket and said that he couldn’t check his documents here, that’s why he needed to take him away. This was when two police pushed me away, and three others took the guy and pushed him inside a Priora’, Nigmatulla Radzhabov said.

According to the imam, one of the the detainees on the evening of 12 July was an 85-year-old man who can’t move on his own.

‘This old man lives 300 metres away from the mosque. Because he can’t walk on his own, one young guy brings him by car. That evening, after the prayer, the old man was already sitting in the car, but the policeman sat in their car and told the guy that he had to go with him to the police station. The guy said that he needed to take the old man home, but the policeman said: “We will also take the old man”. The detainees later told me that they saw this elderly man at the station’, Radzhabov said.

According to the imam and other mosque-goers, similar detentions happen at Tanghim almost every week. The number of detained men is different every time — from ten to several dozen people.

‘They [police] repeatedly come to our mosque and detain men after prayers. They have a quota — a certain number of congregants should be taken to the station and they carry out this plan’, mosque-goer Magomed Magomedov told OC Media.

‘It’s impossible to predict when they will come, but it happens every week, any day of the week. And it is impossible to talk with these people. It seems that there is no law for them. As they detain, they don’t present any documents, they don’t say why people are being detained, they don’t say where they will take them. It’s as if they have the order to torment people’, another mosque-goer, Samad Abdullayev, told OC Media.

On the same evening, people who were already included in the profuchyot (supervision list) were released, but those who were not in the list were interrogated for several hours and questioned about the names of relatives and friends as well as for their addresses and jobs.

[Read on OC Media: The courts are the last hope for Daghestanis on Russia’s ‘preventive supervision list’]

On 28 June, Caucasian Knot reported that according to a representative of Daghestan’s Interior Ministry, the ‘preventive supervision list’ had been abolished in Daghestan. However, human right defenders from Memorial noted that the practice of including people in the profuchyot could be preserved in a modified form.

Tanghim mosque-goers confirmed Memorial’s fears, claiming that police continue to include people in the list and collect and and store information about them without warning the citizens that this is taking place.

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