A couple in south-west Daghestan have accused the local police of torturing them into incriminating an innocent man for the rape of their 14-year-old daughter. Local residents of the Village of Mutsalaul, in Khasavyurt District, have protested demanding the suspect, who also says he was tortured, be released.
On Monday, relatives and supporters of Musa Aliyev, who police have detained on suspicion of rape, including the parents of the victim gathered in front of the village administration building.
The protesters, mostly women, were protesting the alleged torture of the parents and Aliyev and calling for the latter’s release.
The girl’s mother, Taybat Ustarkhanova, told OC Media that she was certain Aliyev was innocent, and that police officers from the Kazbekovsky District beat her and her husband to try to have the couple testify against him.
Ustarkhanova said they discovered their daughter had been raped in September after she suffered a miscarriage. The hospital reported this to the police and a criminal case was opened by the inter-district investigation department of the Khasavyurt District.
‘Musa Aliyev was among several people detained during the investigation, [but] our daughter didn’t point to him. Aliyev lives next door to us, but he never visited us. And recently, we lived with my sister in the village of Dylym, Kazbekovsky District; my daughter studied there in a madrassa’, Ustarkhanova said.
The victim’s father, Magomed Magomedov, made a similar statement.
Patimat Nuradinova, a lawyer for the girl’s parents, told OC Media that after the miscarriage occurred, the parents found out that their daughter was seeing a man from whom she became pregnant.
Nuradinova said that the girl, as well as her parents, all had mild intellectual disabilities, so the girl might not have been aware of what she was doing.
Nurudinova suggested that the police suspected Musa Aliyev because the girl mentioned the name ‘Musa’ while being questioned. Nuradinova said that this did not necessarily refer to Aliyev, as the family also had another neighbour named Musa.
Fellow villagers explained to OC Media that this other Musa often drank and came to visit the girl’s family, but that he died last year.
The victim’s parents tortured
Ustarkhanova told OC Media that she and her husband were taken to the Kazbekovsky District police department on 5 September. She alleges that the police demanded that she and her husband testify against their neighbours and fellow villagers, including Musa Aliyev, who the police alleged raped their daughter.
‘My husband said that he refused to testify against anyone because he did not know who was involved in this. Then the police began to beat him on the head, face, kidneys, stomach, suffocated him with a bag, and then tied him to a chair and left him bent over for four hours’.
‘I was placed in the basement and interrogated by five employees. They beat me with a thick book on the head, with fists on the body, and also smothered me with a bag. We were kept for two days in the police station without food and water’, Ustarkhanova said.
After their release, Ustarkhanova and Magomedov went to the emergency room at the Khasavyurt City Central Hospital to record the beatings. All three submitted complaints against the police to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.
Ustarkhanova claimed that the police also began to accuse her husband of rape, as well as aiding his neighbours, as he sometimes drinks with them.
According to Patimat Nurudinova, the victim changed her testimony five times, and police officers urged her to write a statement under their dictation.
Abubakar Yangulbaev, Aliyev’s lawyer and a member at the Committee Against Torture, told OC Media that in his presence, police officers tried to pressure the victim’s parents not to submit a complaint against the police officers who allegedly tortured them.
‘Nine teeth knocked out’
Aliyev was taken to the Khasavyurt police department on 6 September, where he alleges police tried to torture him into signing a confession.
Yangulbaev also told OC Media that despite threats from the police, Musa Aliyev wrote a statement detailing his accusations of torture against the Khasavyurt police department.
‘I was hit on the head, face, body, kidneys. When they began to accuse me of rape, I asked for a forensic examination, but they began to beat me harder. For an hour, I was held against a wall in the “swallow” position [arms and legs tied back]. Having not received a confession from me, they let me go home, where I felt sick and the ambulance took me to the hospital’ , the statement reads.
In his statement, Aliyev named police officers Ramazan Suleymanov and Yusup Magomedov as being responsible for his torture.
Yangulbaev told OC Media that Aliyev’s doctors recorded a concussion, bruised kidneys and liver, and nine teeth knocked out.
According to him, police officers tried to pressure doctors not to release the results of his medical examination. Yangulbaev said that in his presence, relatives of Magomedov and Suleymanov offered Aliyev ₽1 million ($16,000) to retract his statement.
According to Yangulbaev, Aliyev refused the offer following which he received further threats that he would be charged with committing another rape and that he was reminded that ‘he had two sons and a shop that he could lose’.
Yangulbaev also noted that at the end of October, a criminal case was opened in which Suleymanov and Magomedov were accused of abuse of power with the use of violence, as a result of which the two police officers were placed in holding for two months.
He said that on 15 November, Aliyev was unexpectedly detained, and on 18 November, the Khasavyurt City Court released him under the condition that he not leave Daghestan.
On 26 November, while he was appealing this decision to the Supreme Court of Daghestan, Aliyev was detained again and sent to the Khasavyurt detention centre.
The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Daghestan told OC Media that they could not yet give an official comment since the investigation was ongoing.