Release of Zubair Zubairaev after five years of torture
- Chechen prisoner Zubair Zubairaev was released at 6 a.m. on 1st June into the care of his family and his Chechen lawyer.
It is reported that his state of health is very grave and that he is unable to move his legs this is consistent with earlier reports that his spinal column was broken during a physical assault by prison staff.
Although his state of health is described by his sister as "terrible", due to the extensive, vicious and continuous torture of the prisoner by prison guards throughout his five year sentence, this did not prevent a further physical assault on this seriously injured man by the prison guards in the hour or two hours prior to his release from the prison. According to witness reports, "soul searing screams of pain" were heard from a room adjacent to the prison gate during this time. The reports say that the treatment of Mr Zubairaev included stamping on his injured arm (injured by the cutting of ligaments); being struck on the back of the head with a heavy object; and being pulled up by his arms, causing him "hellish pain".
Readers familiar with the history of Mr Zubairaev's imprisonment will recall that on 23 February 2007 he "disappeared", and was found three months later in a police station basement in Grozny. During this time he was tortured and forced to plead guilty to crimes he had not committed. The five year prison sentence was based on Article 317 of the Criminal Law of the Russian Federation - attempt on the life of a Law Enforcement Unit officer; and on Article 222 - unlawful possession and storage of weapons. In fact, no evidence of the possession of a weapon was presented in his case, or at the trial (see message 61392). It must be considered likely, therefore, that this case was one of a completely innocent Chechen man being wrongfully imprisoned, and suffering extreme violence and torture from Russia's brutal prison system, which has become progressively debased during the years of corrupt rule of Vladimir Putin and his colleagues in the Russian government.