According to an article published on 9 July on the website of Novaya Gazeta, on the night of 25–26 January, Chechen security forces secretly shot to death 27 young people detained in mid-January. All the detainees were being held in the headquarters of the Chechen Patrol Police in Grozny. According to the article’s author, Yelena Milashina, the detentions were connected with the killing of a Chechen police officer by a group of young men on 17 December 2016.
‘Following 17 December 2016, mass arrests began in Chechnya. In early January, special operations were carried out in Grozny and the Kurchaloy and Shali districts of Chechnya, during which mass arrests took place. The detainees, however, were not registered in any way, they were not charged, but instead were placed in the cellars and ancillary premises of police departments. The detentions lasted until the end of January. According to [our] newspaper’s information, about 200 people were detained’, Novaya Gazeta wrote.
According to the newspaper, on the night of the killing, influential Chechen security officials and chiefs of police departments from regions where the detainees lived were present at the Patrol Police headquarters in Grozny. All the detainees were shot to death and hurriedly buried in Muslim and Christian cemeteries. The newspapers claims it has information about the whereabouts of some of the graves.
Novaya Gazeta wrote that 27 people in total were killed on that night, and published the names, patronymics, and addresses of the victims.
The newspaper called for exhumation and DNA analysis of the bodies.
Chechen authorities responded immediately to the publication, with Chechen Minister of National Policy, External Relations, Press, and Information, Dzhambulat Umarov, categorically rejecting Novaya Gazeta’s claims, telling state-run news agency RIA Novosti that this was ‘another disinformation attempt’ against the Chechen Republic.
Umarov said that the claims of extrajudicial killings wasn’t supported by any evidence and was politically motivated.
According to an article published in April by Novaya Gazeta, the Chechen authorities carried out a major operation against men suspected of homosexuality in late March, during which more than 100 people were detained and at least three killed.
[Read on OC Media: ‘Brothers, be careful. Don’t meet up in Grozny’]