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HRW: Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Seriously Ill in Jail (Rasul Kudaev)

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  • Jeremy Putley
    Human Rights Watch (story now 1 month old) Russia: Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Seriously Ill in Jail Kudaev s case shows how vulnerable former detainees from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2009
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      Human Rights Watch (story now 1 month old)

      Russia: Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Seriously Ill in Jail

      Kudaev's case shows how vulnerable former detainees from Guantanamo
      are to abusive treatment back home. As US President-elect Barack
      Obama considers how to close Guantanamo Bay, the experience of people
      like Rasul Kudaev should be taken into account - and never repeated.

      December 2, 2008

      (Moscow, December 2, 2008) - The health of a former Guantanamo
      detainee has declined alarmingly in a Russian detention facility, and
      he should be given immediate access to an independent medical
      examination and appropriate treatment, Human Rights Watch said today.

      The former Guantanamo detainee, Rasul Kudaev, has been held for more
      than three years in pretrial detention in Nalchik, a city in southern
      Russia, accused of participating in an October 2005 armed uprising
      against the local government. He was severely tortured in custody.
      Human Rights Watch urged that Kudaev's lawyer be present during any
      medical examination.

      "Rasul Kudaev has not been convicted of any crime, but prison
      authorities are putting his life at risk by letting his health
      collapse," said Carroll Bogert, associate director of Human Rights
      Watch. "The Russian government must get him decent medical treatment
      immediately."

      Kudaev is one of seven Russian citizens whom the US government sent
      back from Guantanamo to Russia in 2004 despite their fears of being
      tortured and ill-treated back home. Human Rights Watch detailed their
      harassment and mistreatment by Russian authorities in a 2007
      report "The Stamp of Guantanamo". It is a violation of the Convention
      against Torture, as well as other US and international laws, to
      involuntarily return people to a country where they are in danger of
      being tortured.

      The Nalchik uprising reportedly resulted in more than 140 deaths,
      including 35 law enforcement officers, 15 bystanders, and at least 92
      of those involved. According to photographs, medical records, court
      documents, and the testimony of lawyers and family members, Kudaev
      was repeatedly beaten in custody in an effort to compel him to
      confess to involvement in the uprising.

      Kudaev began to suffer liver problems while in detention at
      Guantanamo Bay and was receiving outpatient treatment for liver
      disease in October 2005 when the Nalchik uprising occurred. His
      mother told Human Rights Watch that although she brought him
      medication, he has not regularly received it. In May, Kudaev's
      condition worsened and his lawyer petitioned for a medical exam and
      treatment. Prison authorities issued medical conclusions stating that
      Kudaev was healthy, but began treating Kudaev without informing his
      lawyer. The treatment stopped at the end of June.

      Kudaev's condition has deteriorated markedly over the last several
      weeks. Kudaev's mother and his lawyer told Human Rights Watch that
      Kudaev is currently suffering liver failure exacerbated by poor
      conditions, including inedible food, in detention. The skin on the
      right side of his back has hardened, the whites of his eyes are deep
      yellow, and he has trouble walking due to pain. In mid-November,
      Kudaev and his lawyer requested a medical examination. Prison
      authorities agreed to the exam but refused to allow it to be
      conducted by an independent doctor. They pledged to release all the
      medical records and photos taken during the medical examination, yet
      they barred Kudaev's lawyer from being present at his client's
      medical exam. The exam has not yet been scheduled.

      One of the defendants in the Nalchik case, Valeri Bolov, died in
      February 2008 of cirrhosis of the liver, which was never treated in
      prison. He was released to his relatives from pretrial detention when
      he was already dying.

      The detention facility authorities should immediately improve
      detention conditions for Kudaev, ensuring that he receives urgent
      medical assistance and has unrestricted access to legal counsel,
      Human Rights Watch said.

      "Kudaev's case shows how vulnerable former detainees from Guantanamo
      are to abusive treatment back home," said Bogert. "As US President-
      elect Barack Obama considers how to close Guantanamo Bay, the
      experience of people like Rasul Kudaev should be taken into account -
      and never repeated."
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