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CP: "Filtration centers"

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  • mariuslab2002
    http://www.chechenpress.info/news/12_2003/1_31_12.shtml [BBC Monitoring] Chechen web site says civilians tortured in Russian filtration camps The Chechen rebel
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2004
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      http://www.chechenpress.info/news/12_2003/1_31_12.shtml [BBC
      Monitoring]


      Chechen web site says civilians tortured in Russian filtration camps
      The Chechen rebel web site Chechenpress has published interviews with
      Chechen civilians who say their were tortured in Russian filtration
      camps. The web site said that the Russians have set up these camps
      not only in Chechnya, but throughout the Northern Caucasus.

      Civilians are taken away on suspicion of being members of illegal
      armed formations and then tortured in prison and during
      interrogations, Chechenpress said. It added that the Russians use
      various methods of torture, the most widely used of which is the so-
      called "electric shock", where they fix an electric wire to any part
      of the body and link it to a generator.

      The following is a text of report by Chechenpress news agency web
      site headlined "Filtration centres". Subheadings have been inserted
      editorially:



      When and how were filtration centres founded?
      What are they? How do people end up here?
      What happens in them? Beatings, torture and their classification.
      What are the people like when they leave there?
      What happens to them afterwards? The price of amnesty.

      Filtration camps set up throughout Chechnya

      A decree of the President of the Russian Federation No 2166 of 9
      December 1994 "On measures to thwart the activity of illegal armed
      formations on the territory of the Chechen Republic and in the zone
      of the Ossetian-Ingushetian armed conflict" became the basis for the
      following decree on Stavropol Territory, which read: "In accordance
      with the request of the operational headquarters of the Russian
      Interior Ministry in the Chechen Republic to establish the identity
      and to ascertain the involvement of those detained in the combat zone
      in crimes and the extent of their participation in combat activities
      against the Defence and Interior Ministries of the Russian
      Federation, on the basis of the instructions of the Russian Interior
      Ministry No 247 of 12 December 1994, I issue the following
      instructions:
      "To set up temporary filtration centres at SIZO (Detention Facility)-
      1 and Detention Facility-2 of the Correction and Social
      Rehabilitation Service (SIDISR) of the Administration of the Interior
      Ministry, with the separate confinement of persons brought in from
      Chechnya;

      "I entrust the responsibility for the execution of this instruction
      to the head of SIZO-1 Col I. P. Sobolev, and the head of SIZO-2 Col
      of the armed forces of the Russian Federation B. A. Petrov.":
      (Head of the Administration of the Interior Ministry for Stavropol
      Territory, Police Gen V. P. Medveditskiy).

      This enabled the so-called filtration centres to be set up quickly.
      One of these was the "PAP-1" filtration centre, which became
      notorious in Chechnya in those years. There were others, too: the
      MDOHQ (The Main Directorate of Operational Headquarters); the
      notorious pits in the village of Assinovskaya and in Khankala; and
      others unknown throughout Chechnya. Filtration centres have been set
      up not only in Chechnya, but throughout the Northern Caucasus. The
      most well-known is the "Stolypin wagons" camp in the town of Mozdok.
      There were more than a dozen of this type.

      When the latest war started at the beginning of 1999 there were even
      more of these camps in Chechnya. The whole world is now familiar with
      such camps as "Chernokozovo" in Naur, which won "fame" thanks to A.
      Babitskiy, and "Internat" in Urus-Martan. But how many other camps
      are there which we do not know about? There is one in Khankala which
      is well known to people who are searching for their relatives and
      loved ones who have vanished without trace. Most of the population is
      unaware that these places of confinement even exist.

      Former prisoners say they were tortured

      "He came back himself, black and blue and covered in bruises. When we
      asked where he had been he said he had been kept in the pits of
      Khankala. Now he complains of pain in the kidneys. He frequently has
      fits, and he has other afflictions, too," - says Said, the uncle of a
      young lad whose mother had been vainly looking for him for two
      months.

      Apart from prisons and pits, so-called "Stolypin" wagons are being
      built as filtration camps. These were used when Lord Judd came to
      inspect the camp at Chernokozovo. The wretched, tortured people from
      Chernokozovo were switched to these wagons, and before the lord's
      departure they were sent off on the road Naur-Chervlennaya-Kadi-Yurt.

      During that and the current war these "places of confinement" have
      existed not only throughout Chechnya, but all over the Northern
      Caucasus. These filtration centres, which with great foresight are no
      longer officially so called, comprise hastily erected premises,
      usually in the basement if they are actually in buildings, but in
      most cases they are simply pits which have been dug out in places
      where there are checkpoints and units of the occupation forces.

      One man who had been in one of these camps said this: "We were
      detained at a checkpoint in the village of Kalinovskaya. After they
      checked our papers they took us past the checkpoint to a large
      building which had no bottom, and under it there was a pit with water
      up to your knees. They pushed us into this building and locked the
      door and we were left in this pit for several hours."

      A man, who for personal security reasons introduced himself simply by
      his profession (a shepherd) says: "On the fourth day they brought us
      back to Khankala. Three days later we were taken to the Interior
      Ministry headquarters at Minutka [square in Groznyy], opposite the
      hospital, where we were led down to the basement of the commandant's
      building. Apart from those sent with me there were other people down
      there, too.

      " For example, in Khankala, buildings and pits were used to detain
      those who were captured during the "cleansing" operations. As in the
      previous war, various detention facilities were used all over the
      Northern Caucasus for these purposes.

      Chechnya's ethnic minorities are being repressed as well

      All Chechen citizens, irrespective of their ethnic affiliation, sex
      or age, have been and are being detained. They could be Russians,
      Armenians, Tatars and others who were unable to leave the republic
      before the war started. In the first war people of non-Chechen
      nationality were incriminated because they could easily be "Dudayev's
      mercenaries", and now their "crime" is just that they are living in
      Chechnya. Accordingly, they sometimes suffered even more than the
      Chechens.

      One Igor says: "They came up to us and asked for our documents. I
      said I didn't have any. There were four chaps from our village with
      them. They said they would take us to the DOSAAF [Voluntary Society
      for Co-operation with the Army, Navy and Air Force]. Here they would
      establish if we really lived in the village and would let us go. For
      three to four hours we were forced to kneel, then they put handcuffs
      on us and took us to Chernokozovo. There they beat us up and hurled
      us into cells. I ended up in a cell with Babitskiy. This was a
      confinement cell, 1.7m long by 1.2m wide. I was beaten up again. Why,
      I still don't know. I had a plan of the sewer, and in it I noticed
      where the traps were. After eight days they threw a Jew into our
      cell. He had been a prisoner of Barayev for a year. Somehow he had
      got away and reached the Russian post. They could do nothing to help
      him so he was thrown into our cell. He was called Roma, he was 71
      years old. He was with us for two days, then he was taken out, but
      what happened to him, I've no idea."

      A shepherd: "They let my son go when I gave one of the soldiers my
      watch and a hundred roubles. There was a lad of about fifteen there."

      Salman: "Some time later we realized that we were in Khankala. They
      put two women with us in a car. We found out from one of them where
      we were. Then some more people were brought in from PAP-1, they had
      been detained along the road, one was an old gentleman of about 70.
      There were 32 of us in one vehicle which was supposed to take 16
      people."

      Zura: "There were women with me in a cell in Chernokozovo. Aminat
      Bakhayeva, a young girl, had been there for two months. They took her
      off the bus, with the wounded, and she was just a passenger. Svetlana
      Kozlova, she was taken as she was leaving Groznyy. Polina Nikolayevna
      Filippova, she was taken in Shatoy on suspicion of being a sniper.
      She was from Latvia, she was about 30.

      "There was a 19-year old girl, Eliza, with us, a Chechen, from Urus-
      Martan. She was brought in on 27 January. She was in a state of
      shock, she slept for 72 hours and had probably been drugged in
      Khankala. With her was Lola Daurbekova who said that Eliza had been
      raped by several men. After four days she began to have epileptic
      fits but the doctors ignored her. There was a pregnant woman, Aminat,
      she was arrested on the way to Groznyy."

      Ethnic Chechens are tortured most of all

      But most of the people who end up there come from Chechnya, without
      trial or investigation, unless you include beatings and torture. In
      many cases they come without any documents or even an endorsement of
      their arrest. These endorsements are completed many weeks or even
      months after their detention, if it is considered necessary. There
      were many examples of this.

      Here is one of them: "They took me straight from my house in Staryye
      Atagi where I was a refugee from Groznyy. I was taken on 28 January
      2000, and the warrant for my arrest was signed by the prosecutor on
      21 February."

      Salman: "I was taken on 3 February. I received the arrest endorsement
      only on 3 April. They brought the warrant which was backdated. They
      forced me to sign it. A week later they brought another one where my
      confinement period had been extended to 3 June." He had been taken on
      3 February, during the cleansing operations.

      Since the start of the current war each village has been subjected
      to "cleansing operations" no less than three times. During these
      brutal operations they take the young people out of the village,
      people who had absolutely no involvement in the fighting. They are
      subjected to beatings and torture in the "filtration centres" or
      within the area where the "cleansing operation" is being carried out.
      Through these beatings and torture they are forced to sign various
      papers which they are not even allowed to read. So many of them write
      under Article 208, para 2: "Participation in illegal armed
      formations". Then, if they are lucky, several months later these
      fighters are again "amnestied".

      Here is Geliskhan (his name has been changed): "Something is
      happening which I just cannot comprehend. We, who have nothing to do
      with anything, are being taken away and tortured into signing
      documents we don't understand saying we are fighters. They put bags
      over our heads and suffocate us. They say to us: 'Remember this, if
      anyone complains, they will go and you will stay here. We will shoot
      you.' If they don't shoot you, then they can beat you until you are
      half dead.

      "Eventually, we are placed under amnesty, and it turns out that we
      are fighters, we have been in battle and we have not been shot, we
      have been "pardoned", they have shown mercy towards us. See what kind
      of people we are, you have been killing our boys, but we have
      pardoned you. Together with me there were nineteen such 'fighters'.
      They took our photographs, and this show was attended by generals
      from Moscow, and Koshman and his men. Where each of them deemed it
      his duty to say these parting words to us: "As you have committed no
      serious crimes, and you have not taken part in any terrorist
      operations, you have been placed under amnesty. Leave your weapons
      behind for good and take up peaceful, creative work."

      There are interrogation cells in all the filtration centres where the
      subject is brainwashed: ..."I was taken on 7 February, straight from
      home during the cleansing operations, which started after the village
      was shelled from the air and on the ground. Federal troops would come
      up to our yard and introduce themselves: 'A punitive detachment has
      arrived'. We were on the move a long time. Then we were unloaded at
      Khankala and handed over to another punitive detachment: 'The
      fighters are here!' Then they dealt with the 'fighters'. They beat us
      up for about an hour and threw us into a vehicle where all 16 of us
      were kept for four days and nights, without even any fresh air.

      "We were each taken out separately for interrogation. The
      interrogation turned into out-and-out beating and abuse. On the
      fourth day they took one of us out for interrogation and when he came
      back some hours later he was in a terrible state. But I had no time
      to look at him as now it was my turn. I was taken out, a sack was
      placed over my head and they tied me hand and foot to a post and
      started burning me with a blow-torch. From the torrent of abuse I was
      able to pick out some ridiculous questions, such as: Have I been
      fighting? Why did I not leave with the fighters? And so on, but when
      I said that I was not a fighter and I have not been fighting, and I
      had nothing to confess, they weren't satisfied. And the torture went
      on until I lost consciousness."

      What goes on in the filtration centres cannot be comprehended. They
      break you, physically and mentally. Or rather, they try to reach the
      point where you haven't got the strength to think about being free.
      Those who have been through this hell say that the mental torture is
      worse than the physical.

      "The torture of ridicule was no less pain than the physical beatings.
      We had to endure abuse and derision just as often as the boot or the
      fist. Worst of all, in enduring blows about the body, you had to
      listen to them abusing you and your faith and to recognize the
      disgrace of your predicament. They would say: 'Where's your Allah,
      why doesn't he help you?' They abused the religion, the faith of all
      Muslims. You are detained, beaten up, and then they say: 'Turn to
      Allah', or 'They are drunk all the time.'" Magomed says. (All names
      have been changed for the safety of the people who were interviewed).

      Various types of torture

      The torture which people had to suffer and still are suffering can be
      classified as "the helicopter", "the bag", "electric shock", and many
      others.

      The "helicopter" is a form of torture where people are loaded into a
      helicopter, their eyes are covered with bandage and the engine is
      switched on. You get the impression that the helicopter is gaining
      height, and then they start throwing people off, saying that the
      helicopter is flying at 200 - 500 metres.

      In the "bag" torture, you are taken in for interrogation which begins
      with beatings and questions which people cannot answer. Then they tie
      a cellophane bag over your head and start to suffocate you. When it
      becomes unbearable they take it off. But if they still don't like
      your replies, the torture is repeated. Geliskhan says: "They would
      put bags on my head and choke me."

      The most widely used of all the tortures in this war is the so-
      called "electric shock". In this they fix an electric wire to any
      part of the body and link it to a generator. It is charged and the
      person loses consciousness.

      Says Zaurbek: "I was handcuffed the whole time. This was a special
      cell where people were tortured by electric shock. They had a special
      apparatus, a brown box with wires and rods at the end. They attached
      them to my ear lobes and then switched on the current. I wasn't tied
      to the chair, and the shock of the current threw me from one side of
      the cell to the other. The wires were disconnected and then they
      started all over again."

      Here is Boris: "They didn't just torture Bislan, they dragged him
      along the road to the wood tied to an armoured personnel carrier
      [BTR]. They poured a tin of nitric paint into his mouth and tortured
      him with an electric current. Then they took him to the filling
      station and threw him out. Traces of the electric current could
      clearly be seen on his head and behind his ears.

      "There was one chap, called Andarbek. They tortured him with current
      and broke all his toes. The first stages of gangrene have now set in
      and he just doesn't know what to do."

      Here is Isa: "They tied me to a chair, started with the shock
      treatment, and then used the needle. They stripped me to the waste
      and stuck needles into each vertebra. They would sit down, laugh,
      drink spirits, vodka and offer some to me. I refused. They again
      tried the current. They would fix something like rods to my ear lobes
      and then send as much current as I could stand, until my muscles
      started to quiver. Then they started to choke me. Not everyone can
      stand this. They then placed a cellophane bag on my head until you
      are at bursting point. Then they take it off and pour water over
      you."

      The attitude of the doctors to the prisoners is particularly
      interesting. Whether he is a fighter or a peaceful citizen, to the
      doctor he is first and foremost a patient. But when a doctor forgets
      that before him is not an enemy, but a patient, then he betrays the
      Hippocratic Oath. How can such people then be called doctors? To
      trust your health or that of someone close to you to such doctors
      would be simply unthinkable.

      Here is Alik: "They ordered me to squat with my hands behind my head.
      Then they roughed me up. There was one doctor who knew exactly where
      and how to beat you. He was just a sadist. They called him Vitya.
      They had to keep restraining him. On the second day they brought a
      doctor to us. I recognized him straight away, he was the one who had
      beaten us up during the night. He asked with a grin - do you have any
      complaints? I said my ribs were broken, but when he asked where this
      happened I said I had fallen down some stairs. It was safer to say
      that."

      Here is Aslan: "We had nothing to eat or drink for three days and I
      was never taken outside. Our wounds were not treated although many
      had gangrene. It was only on the fourth day that the bosses arrived
      (about six men and some journalists), and a military surgeon was with
      them. He, along with a Chechen doctor, bathed and re-bandaged our
      wounds. They pulled a shard of shrapnel from me."

      This is Apti: "I was in such a state that the other prisoners had to
      call the doctor. The doctor couldn't find any pulse and was amazed
      that I was still alive. He put me on a drip right there in the pit.
      There I was, lying in a pool of water under a drip. My mates held the
      vessel containing the medicine. They told me all this when I came
      to."

      This is Ziyaudi: "The doctor at the hospital where I was sent to
      after the filtration centre noticed cuts on my body and broken ribs
      and straight away ordered me to be sent for treatment. But, he said,
      you could only get clearance through the commandant's office." This
      is Idris: "He only cried out when he had an epileptic fit. The doctor
      came, looked at him, and said: "Sort him out."

      (To be continued)

      [Signed] Society of Prisoners of Filtration (Concentration) Camps of
      the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria

      Chechenpress, 31.12.03
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