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‘Tortured’ arson suspect placed in house arrest

5 December 2017

Akim Kuliyev, who is accused of orchestrating the arson of a local government building in Daghestan, has been transferred to house arrest. He is no longer suffering from physical pressure on him, but, according to his wife, is still being pursued online.

Four residents of Rutul district in Daghestan — Akim Kuliyev, Suleyman Guseynov, Muradin Eminov and Efendi Alimov — were arrested on 4 November under suspicion of setting fire to the local administration building in the district. Their relatives say they have been tortured into confessing. Following a media storm, the acting head of the republic Vladimir Vasilyev said he was taking over the case.

[Read more about the story on OC Media: ‘Mystery fire in Daghestan mountain village: claims of torture and fabrication’]

On 1 December, Makhachkala’s Kirovsky Court released Kuliyev from detention, placing him under house arrest. By law, he is forbidden from communicating with anyone on the outside, except for close relatives who are living with him.

According to his wife, Elada Kuliyeva, police have placed cameras in their Makhachkala apartment. Because of Akim's fragile state of health, paramedics visit the flat every day.

‘Akim has a fear that he is being persecuted, that they will come after him and start torturing him again. I wanted to call a psychologist, but we were prevented from doing so. They said that only an ambulance can be called’, Elada told OC Media.

Claims of torture

She claims police beat him on the kidneys, and he has wounds on his stomach and hands, including burns on his fingers.

‘The wounds on the abdomen and arms are healing, the stitches have already been taken off. There was a large bruise on the left side of his head. Yesterday the doctor said that he had a concussion and needs an MRI of his head. But we cannot go anywhere’, his wife said.

Kuliyev will be held in house arrest until the court reconvenes on 5 January. Elada said that despite being home, he is still being persecuted.

Online harassment

‘A video appeared on the internet in which Akim cuts his stomach. And someone posted an audio recording of Efendi Alimov's testimony from the first interrogation. There he said Akim offered him money to set fire to the administration’, Elada said.

According to her, Alimov is giving very different testimony now, and has admitted he was speaking under torture at the time. Alimov is still being held in detention.

Alimov mother, Kaynat told OC Media that on the evening of 23 November, the head of the Rutul District Police Department Artyom Magomedov came to her son in the detention centre in the Akhty District. According to Kaynat, he shouted at Efendi and demanded he confess to the arson.

She said that Magomedov told Efendi: ‘you will say that you are accomplices and organised the arson. If you don’t, you will disappoint me’.

A few hours previously, when Efendi and Akim were being transported from Makhachkala to Akhty, relatives of both men say that the car transporting them was stopped and another car drove up to them and took the two to an abandoned house.

‘There they were beaten savagely. During the torture, investigators told Efendi: ‘next time a grenade and a gun will be in your wife’s bed. And your wife will be in our hands. My son cried when he told me this’, Kaynat said.

She said that Efendi is no longer being tortured. He is now being held in a Makhachkala detention centre, along with another of the suspects, Suleyman Guseynov. At the time of the arrests, the third accused, Muradin Eminov, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis before being detained, has been placed in the centre’s medical unit, due to poor health.

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