Amnesty International Press Release "RUSSIAN FEDERATION Continuing torture and rape in Chechnya"
RUSSIAN FEDERATION Continuing torture and rape in Chechnya
Amnesty International public document
AI Index EUR 46/036/2000
News Service Nr. 110
8 June 2000
One of them was an investigator, called Vasiliy. I heard how he ordered:
"Let's do it." And they began forcing wooden clubs into me... I cried and
cried and called for help -- I was in so much pain. I lost consciousness
many times. I heard one of them said: "We will make you incapable of
producing children." "Zelimkhan"*, 20, a survivor of the "Internat"
Despite recent Russian government assurances that all crimes against
civilians will be investigated, Amnesty International continues to collect
evidence of daily abuses in Chechnya and the perpetrators remain
Amnesty International has received new disturbing testimonies from
survivors of the "Internat" filtration camp in the town of Urus-Martan in
Chechnya that detainees, including children, have continued to be raped
and subjected to other brutal torture. Amnesty International had
previously obtained testimonies from four former detainees at the
"Internat" camp, who independently confirmed torture and ill-treatment in
the camp. The organization also has information, including the conclusions
of a postmortem medical examination, about at least one person who died as
a result of torture and ill-treatment at the "Internat" camp.
Amnesty International's field researcher recently interviewed two victims
in Ingushetia, who were held in the "Internat" between 6 May and 13 May
Twenty-year-old "Zelimkhan" was detained on 6 May at his parents' house in
Urus-Martan by a group of about 15 Russian federal forces officers,
allegedly members of the special detachments (OMON) from the Russian city
of Penza. He was taken to the outskirts of Komsomolskoye village, ordered
to take his clothes off, handcuffed and forced onto his knees in front of
a hole in the ground, three metres deep and five to six metres wide.
"Zelimkhan" was beaten with clubs for about two hours by four OMON
officers while the rest of the group were watching and laughing. He was
asked to sign a confession stating he was a Chechen fighter and that he
took part in the fighting around Komsomolskoye. They threatened to kill
him and to send him to Chernokozovo camp where he would be raped by the
guards. Later the same day, "Zelimkhan" was taken to the "Internat" camp.
In the "Internat" he was brutally gang-raped by four or five OMON
officers. "Zelimkhan" was blindfolded and handcuffed and ordered to lay on
a table face down before being raped with wooden clubs and the butt of
machine-guns. He was also repeatedly kicked in the area of the genitals
while asked to stand naked by a wall. "Zelimkhan" said the officers also
squeezed his genitals, repeatedly saying they would make him handicapped
and incapable of producing children. The rape and beatings continued for
two hours. He was questioned by Vasiliy, the investigator who had ordered
the rape, and asked to sign a confession that he was a Chechen fighter,
which he refused.
"Zelimkhan" was severely beaten and tortured several times each day during
his detention, with the exception of 9 May when no detainees were beaten
because the guards were celebrating the national holiday -- the Victory
over Fascism Day.
"Zelimkhan" also told Amnesty International about one of his cell mates,
Rustam Gandarov from Urus-Martan who was subjected to electric shocks and
beaten by the guards for seven hours without a break. Rustam Gandarov was
being held in the "Internat" for a third time. The previous time he was
reportedly released after his relatives paid $3,500. He was subsequently
detained twice again.
"Zelimkhan" also told Amnesty International that detainees in the
"Internat" have their ears pierced with sharp nails. One of his cell
mates, 20-year-old Beslan Satabayev, had his ears pierced with nails. He
was also handcuffed and suspended from the ceiling while being beaten all
over his body. Beslan Satabayev was later transferred to the camp in
Children were also tortured and ill-treated in the "Internat". "Zelimkhan"
witnessed how 15-year-old Timur, a student at School No. 4 in Urus-Martan,
was severely beaten by the guards and a number of his ribs were broken.
Timur was apparently detained together with his uncle, who was suspected
of being a Chechen fighter. The guards beat Timur repeatedly during his
eight days in detention in order to force him to confess that his uncle
was a fighter. Eventually Timur was released when the family paid $700 to
"Zelimkhan" was released on 13 May for the sum of $300 after being forced
by the "Internat" authorities to sign a document claiming that he had not
been subjected to ill-treatment and had been treated humanely. After his
release he was immediately hospitalized at the hospital in Urus-Martan in
a serious condition. In a statement the doctors treating him concluded
that he had sustained numerous bruises and haematomas in the area of his
ribs and chest and in the area of his kidneys, and that he needed
treatment by a urologist because of an inflamation and infection in the
Forty-year-old "Nurdy", and his neighbours "Dzhamal" and Maksim (an ethnic
Russian man who was helping "Dzhamal" with farming), were arrested on 6
May at home in Urus-Martan on suspicion of participating in
hostage-taking. All three were taken to the "Internat" and repeatedly
tortured and beaten by the guards in an attempt to force them to confess
to being Chechen fighters and involved in hostage-taking.
When Maksim told the guards that he was not a hostage they beat him.
Because he was not a Chechen, the guards left him to sleep in the corridor
outside the cells and used him to clean the camp.
"Nurdy" told Amnesty International that on arrival at the camp he was
beaten by a group of about 15 officers. He was also subjected to a torture
method known in Russia as "envelope" (konvert), in which the victim's legs
are pulled up to his head and secured while his hands are handcuffed
behind his back. "Zelimkhan" told Amnesty International that he witnessed
the beatings of "Nurdy" through a small hole in his cell door. He saw how
the officers repeatedly dragged "Nurdy" up by his arms and pushed him with
force against the wall. "Nurdy" said he lost consciousness several times.
On 7 May, "Nurdy" was beaten again to force him to sign a confession that
he was a fighter. The guards threatened to kill him and cut off his ears.
He refused to sign and they beat him over the fresh wounds on his back
with a chair and smashed his finger under the chair by sitting on it.
Following the beatings, a doctor gave "Nurdy" several shots but on 9 May
his health deteriorated further and he was taken to the hospital in
"Nurdy" told Amnesty International that there were six or seven detainees
in his cell and there were no beds or sanitary facility; only an empty
bottle used by all detainees. "Nurdy" independently confirmed
"Zelimkhan"'s reports of the use of electric shocks on detainees in the
"Dzhamal" was released on 16 May and was immediately hospitalized in
Urus-Martan where a medical examination concluded that he had broken ribs
and bruising, haematomas and injuries in the area of the chest, head and
the arms. The guards at the "Internat" asked him to take Maksim, who was
also released on 16 May, away with him.
Russian forces are still reported to be constantly detaining people in
Chechnya at checkpoints and in the territories under their control, either
during so-called "cleansing operations" in newly-occupied towns or during
identity checks on civilian convoys travelling from Chechnya to
neighbouring Ingushetia. People are most often detained for not having
proper registration and a residence permit, or on suspicion of belonging
to armed Chechen groups. Women are also detained on suspicion of being
related to Chechen fighters.
People detained by Russian forces are then sent to various secret
"filtration camps" where they are held without access to their relatives,
lawyers, or the outside world. Amnesty International has collected
testimonies from survivors of "filtration camps" which confirm that
detainees -- men, women and children -- are routinely and systematically
tortured: they are raped, beaten with hammers and clubs, tortured with
electric shocks and tear gas, their teeth are sawn and some are beaten
around both ears simultaneously to burst the ear-drums.
* These are not real names. They have been changed for the individuals'
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