Dear Mr. McCain,
I have been your follower since at least ten years, as I share most of your opinions and statements regarding the U.S. foreign policy. I voted for your candidacy in 2008. And just today, I was impressed and inspired by your stand on Middle East policies that you expressed in the course of Fox News interview.
However, now I would like to thank you especially for your uncompromised stand against so called �harsh interrogations� even of suspected al Queda accomplices. I also consider such methods of �gathering information� both counterproductive and morally unacceptable.
That�s why I was dire to take a moment to address you my deepest concerns and frustration of our policy toward current Russian regime and policies. In particular, I was completely ruined by the recent State Department statement about alleged Chechen terrorist Doku Umarov, who has been officially proclaimed �international terrorist� and priced of $ 5 mln. The State Dept. based this statement on allegation that Mr. Umarov and his so called �Imarat Caucasus�, �uses bombings, shootings and attempted assassinations to provoke a revolution and expel the Russian government from the North Caucasus region.�
I doubt that the State Dept. is ignorant that this is half true. Another half is the KGB-FSB regime exterminating the entire generation of Chechens, and from recent years, also other North Caucasians. I doubt the State Dept. doesn�t know that Russian Mafia state started this war that murdered at least 250,000 Chechens, mostly civilians.
And in particular, I doubt that the State Dept. is unaware that Russia doesn�t have any legal instrument that could prevent innocent opponents of the current regime, both Chechens (and other Caucasians) and opposition Russians, from being declared �Doku Umarov accomplices� that could result in show trials and/or extrajudicial murders.
Our human rights group has some terrible examples of how Russian �government� can use this State Dept. statement against any person simply declared �Umarov accomplice�. Here are some real-life cases illustrating possible fatal consequences of this statement (we should keep in mind that they occur before this statement).
Here is a quote from a report of Svetlana Gannushkina, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society of the Russian Federation, regarding situation in North Caucasus and treatment of Chechens:
�In 2006 Zubayr [Zubayraev] got to know that his mother was diagnosed with cancer and nobody is to take care of her. So, Zubayr with his wife and a little son (who was born in Vienna) had to return. Perhaps they supposed suspicions that forced them to leave (the family took part in antiwar demonstrations and hosted in their house civilians, Russians and Chechens alike, fleeing from the war-burning Chechnya�s capital, Grozny) no longer threaten them as was said a lot that in Chechnya is already peace.
Indeed, at first months of their return nobody bothered them. Zubayr�s mother became better, she came back home after several-months treatment in Russia�s Rostov city.
On February 23, 2007 Zubayr suddenly disappeared. After three months of intense search, the family found him in a district detention center of Grozny. He was tortured there, Malika, Zubayr�s sister, said. �His fingernails were torn, he was tortured with electroshock, to force him to testify against some rebels,� he was constantly threatened, she said. His wife was also threatened. In June 2007 Zubayr told his sisters that he could not bear the torture and forcibly �admitted� the [fabricated] accusations against himself. Then, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic sentenced him [innocent!] to five years of prison on accusation of attempted life of a law enforcement agent and unlawful arms storage.
He was transferred from Chechnya into a colony #25 in Volgograd region [at another part of the RF from Chechnya]. There he was extremely beaten practically every day at his head by plastic bottles with liquid until he fainted. In addition, his legs were punched with iron sticks, which resulted in deep wounds. He was turned into a completely disabled just after few months of detention. That attitude was aimless because Zubayr already was sentenced.
Here is a testimony of a human rights protector who visited him in the colony. �He looked exhausted, emaciated, he hardly could move. His face on the left side was a huge bruise from the forehead to chin; this side lost its sensitivity, it could be a paresis of the facial nerve. Flesh on his arms was torn; on his right knee a wound full of pus, on Zubayr�s words, it was a result of punching of his knee bone with a screwdriver; on his both reams also suppurating wounds � his reams were punched with nails.�
After Zubayraev�s fate made its way into international human rights outcry, he was transferred to another colony, in the town of Minusinsk, Eastern Siberia, called �Cold pole,� with often frost below -50 C. Moreover, the colony�s personnel threatened Yelena Maglevannaya, a Russian journalist who has written some article about this unimaginable torture of Zubayr, forcing her to flee from Russia (she was lucky to get asylum in Finland
Taysumov Rizvan Balavdievich, b. 1974, a Russian citizen, Chechen national.
Taysumov was sentenced to 21 years of imprisonment for seemingly fabricated case in which he confessed guilty under unbearable tortures.
Here are facts that are known to me, mostly from my friend Victoria Poupko, the President of the Association of Jews from Former Soviet Union, State of Massachusetts who gathered the facts and contacted Taysumov's lawyer in Russia by e-mails.
Taysumov responded to call upon his nation by Aslan Maskhadov, the last freely elected president of the Chechen Republic. He went to fight in the ranks of the resistance, in the unit which was under direct command of Aslan Maskadov. However, soon Taysumov was heavily wounded and decided to leave the resistance.
After Maskhadov's assassination, his aide Shaa Turlaev, who fought at the same unit, reportedly turned his coat to the Russians and allegedly reported Taysumov to them. Taysumov was arrested and after tortures tried at a federal court in the city of Khasav Yurt (Dagestan). He was accused of possession illegal weapons while in fact, he was not in possession of illegal weapons. In the Maskhadov's unit he was given a riffle in accordance with then-Chechen Republic law of the war, e.g. completely legally. Moreover, after his wounding, he did not possess any weapons because he became disabled.
Also, he was accused of kidnapping of a certain citizen whose last name is Shyan. He turned to be alive and free. He lives in Chechen Republic but never was summoned or questioned by the court. Taysumov has nothing with his abduction.
Also, Taysumov was accused of participation at the rebels' raid on Alleroy village, while he did not participate at this raid. We have a videotape of it, and Taysumov is not among the fighters.
Also, Taysumov was accused of stealing a car. However, he took a car without ID plate to save live of a wounded man. The car probably was abandoned.
Taysumov became a disabled. Nevertheless, after his arrest he was being severely and almost relentlessly beaten for 10 days in a row.
While Taysumov was under trial in Chechnya and Dagestan, he was sent to serve his time in the Russian Far East, Amur region. It is a violation of the Russian criminal code that forbids sending a sentenced prisoner in a facility farther then 300 kilometres from his home.
From Amnesty Int�l appeal to the Russian authorities (never responded):
We deeply concerned about the state of health of Rasul Kudaev, imprisoned a tFBU IZ-7/1, a remand centre in Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. He was beaten up by prison guards soon after being transferred. Amnesty International is concerned that he has not seen a doctor as he suffers from chronic hepatitis, severe back pain, low blood pressure and migraines. In December 2009, he was diagnosed with an acute gastric ulcer and gastric haemorrhage. Most recently there have been reports that he has difficulty breathing due to respiratory complications.
It appears that his punishment and beating could be part of a wider crackdown on detainees which has reportedly taken place in the Nalchik remand centre since 4 March 2011, in the course of detainees being resettled to a new building. According to reports from sources in Kabardino-Balkaria, several detainees have been beaten, some severely, and have been placed in a punishment block for breaking remand centre rules and disobeying orders of staff. Several of the detainees complained that they have been disciplined for violations they did not commit and that the force used against them was disproportionate. Reports state that at least two of the detainees have self-harmed in protest against the ill-treatment.
Rasul Kudaev�s repeated requests for a full medical examination from an independent doctor have not been granted. Another potential problem is that local medical officers who have been asked are reportedly unwilling to provide an independent assessment. (A doctor who provided treatment to Rasul Kudaev's lawyer was apparently subjected to several hours of questioning recently and this presumably has increased local doctors' reluctance to become involved in the case.)
Also, here are just examples of people who were abducted by Russian or pro-Russian forces in the North Caucasus and disappeared without trace. These examples are Amnesty Int�l USA cases.
We, members of Amnesty International, are deeply concerned about the fate of Zalina Elhoroeva, who allegedly was abducted while she was travelling by taxi from Valdikavkaz to Nazran to visit her brother, Timur Elhoroev, who had been transferred from a hospital to a pre-trial detention centre by a law enforcement agency earlier in December. He was in hospital following an incident on 18 November in Nazran when unknown men opened fire at a car in which he was travelling during which he was badly wounded and the driver killed. According to human rights centre Memorial, Timur Elhoroev�s father is unaware of what charges have been made against his son.
We, members of Amnesty International, are deeply concerned about the fate of Mohamadsalah Delilovich Masaev (unfortunately, AI misspelled his first name as Makhmadsalors), a Muslim preacher, the inhabitant of the Chechen Republic. He was repeatedly abducted and is being held in unknown location. AI repeatedly addressed petitions in this case to the Russian and Chechen authorities but so far no results were achieved. Fate of Mr. Masaev remains unknown.
As Amnesty International found out, Mohamadsalah Delilovich Masaev, was abducted on 3 August, 2008 in Grozny, capital of the Chechen Republic, by men in camouflage uniform. Mohamadsalah Masaev was in Grozny on 2 August, to attend the funeral of a relative. On 3 August, he decided to visit other relatives in the nearby town of Sernovodsk. He had planned to take a taxi from the center of Grozny to get to Sernovodsk. When he did not reach Sernovodsk, his relatives started to search for him. They found out he had been seen being taken away by men in camouflage uniform, outside the Rosselkhozbank building in the centre of Grozny. There are grounds to believe that he was detained by Chechen law enforcement officials.
Here are some more quotes from Gannushkina�s report to clarify the situation of Chechens who on arbitrary basis are getting into Russian �justice� system.
�People who fought in Chechnya on the Russian side came en masse in the Russian law enforcement agencies, including correctional facilities personnel. Most of such people carry their wartime experience with them, such as traumatized conscience and hatred towards Chechens, their recent enemies. That�s why among the Russian prisoners there is a whole category, for whom arrest and detention means direct threat for their health and life, this is the Chechens.�
�Fabrication of criminal cases became the ultimately cruel and cynical method of persecution of Chechens. The typical way of fabrication is simple: a persecuted person is planted upon some drugs, a grenade, or explosives; then, s/he is tortured until admission of �guilt.� Often the law enforcement agents perform documents search or home search without any grounds but only ethnic profiling.�
�It is obvious that all this are sanctioned from the highest ranks of authorities and well fits into anti-Chechens xenophobia being cultivated in the Russian society.�
�Level of danger for us, the report�s authors, made publishing of the report too risky for us as well as those we�re protecting.�
�We have to state that in Chechnya was created a regime based on violence, fear, and unchecked tips.�
Moreover, there are numerous cases show that such abductions, torture, and murders are being used by pro-Russian forces simply to extort ransoms from the victims� relatives.
Now, this sort of regime received even more encouragement for such tactic.
Even more sad is that Putin�s regime will percept this statement as assurance that the U.S. at least responded to the KGB tricky offer for this shadowy trade under pretext of �counterterrorism�. Such a regime will certainly make this statement to its own gain to even deeper penetration of the U.S. society to spoil and corrupt it from within. Moreover, it will use this statement in its double play with the West, both penetrating and playing shadowy with the worst enemies such as Hamas, Hesballah, Kaddafi and Venezuela�s Chavez.
I hope Mr. Senator you use your power to persuade Senate Foreign Relation Committee to work out much more comprehensive policies towards Russian current regime, not making appeasements for using such simplistic statement for excuse of deadly torturing people of their North Caucasian origin, crackdown on any opposition and corrupting our basic values and principles.
Member of Independent Int'l Human Rights Group (Russia/Chechnya)