Memorial: Dagestan: Security Agencies' Officers Murdered a Lawyer and his Relative
Dagestan: Security Agencies' Officers Murdered a Lawyer and his Relative
On January, 20, 2012, at about 9.30 p.m. Umar Sagidmagomedov, a lawyer of the city Board of lawyers "Caucasus", and his relative, Rasul Kurbanov, were murdered in the town of Machachkala, the Republic of Dagestan, on Kotrova street, by security agencies' officers.
According to the official version suggested by the investigation, the officers tried to stop the car, in which Sagidmagomedov and Kurbanov were, for document check. The latter, however, started to shoot. The officers fired back, Umar and Rasul were killed. Submachine gun Kalashnikov with bullets and a hand grenade were found in the car.
The lawyer's colleagues and relatives reject this version. On January, 23, a lawyer, Umar's colleague, who preferred to stay incognito, submitted a written statement to Human Rights Centre "Memorial". The details of Sagidmagomedov and Kurbanov's murder were in the statement.
In the evening of January, 20, Umar was visiting his relative Rasul Kurbanov. He, according to his family and friends, had never been involved in illicit armed factions. Umar was about to leave. Rasul walked out to see him off in casual clothes and slippers. They were standing by the gates when a car, UAZ, drove up to the building. According to the witnesses, whose evidence the lawyer uses as reference in his statement, the lid of the roof insert of the car opened, and a man stuck out of it, yelling, "Omar! Omar!" When Umar turned around, he started to shoot at him from an automatic gun. Umar fell on the ground, face down. Rasul tried to run back in the building but got shot as well. Two men got out the car. One of them walked up to Umar and made a confirming shot in the back of his head. After that they turned Umar's body round and put a hand grenade next to him.
Having heard the shooting, Rasul Kurbanov's father walked out. The men yelled, "Go back, old chap!" and he walked back in the building. The killers walked to Kurbanov's body and tried to plant a pack of bullets on the body. The pack tore apart, and the bullets scattered all over.
Covering themselves with a shield, the officers walked to Umar's closed car and started to shoot at it. After that, they collected the shells.
The lawyer emphasizes in his statement, that exactly after the murder official news pieces appeared on official state informational websites saying that the murdered lawyer is exactly a member of the city board of lawyers "Caucasus", even though the name of the Board was not specified in his ID.
The author of the statement believes that the murder is related to Sagidmagomedov's occupation. "The murder was committed by the security agencies' officers in an attempt to intimidate all the lawyers dealing with the cases of legal assistance to those accused of membership in illicit armed factions. An attempt on our colleague's life, Konstantin Magomedovich Mudunov, took place recently. I believe that there is a real threat for the lives of all the lawyers dealing with cases of this kind", he states.
HRC "Memorial" has reported multiple times about the disastrous situation with the safety of lawyers in Dagestan. In an anonymous leaflets spread out in September, 2009, on behalf of "the relatives of the murdered militiamen" the lawyers were named among the future targets for the "avengers" along with human rights activists and journalists. In 2010 five lawyers were beaten in the republic. Attacks and insults on the lawyers have almost become a daily practice in Dagestan.
Sagidmagomedov and Kurbanov's murder took place shortly before the protests against arbitrary actions of the government. The meeting was scheduled for January, 27, in Machachkala.
See Chapter VI, part 6.1 of the report of HRC "Memorial" about the beatings of lawyers, "New Magomedov's course. The situation with human rights and attempts at consolidation of the society. March 2010 - March 2011": http://www.memo.ru/2011/04/13/doc.pdf (in Russian).
January 30, 2012