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MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER


A report by Human Rights NGOs Observer Mission
to the zone of the armed conflict in Chechen Republic

"Memorial"



Moscow

1995

INTRODUCTION


       On December 9, 1994, the Russian President issued a Decree «On Measures on Preventing Illegal Armed Formations Activities in Chechen Republic and in the Zone of Chechen-Ingush Conflict». The Decree instructed the Russian Government «to use all the power of the state to ensure state security, rule of law, basic rights and freedoms of citizens, public order, curb criminal activities and disarm illegal armed formations».
       Russian Army and Interior Ministry units were deployed in Chechnya amidst resistance of Chechen forces. These events triggered proxy war in the North Caucuses.
       The authors of this report consider resulting large scale hostilities as internal armed conflict, whose victims are entitled for protection in strict conformity with Common Article 3 of 1949 Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II.
       Reports from the conflict zone about gross violations of humanitarian law and human rights resulted in launching on December 15, 1994 the activities of Russian Human Rights Commissioner Group there. Due to the absence of law on Human Rights Commissioner in Russia, S.A.Kovalev (appointed by State Duma) indeed found himself deprived of rights and powers and was left without staff to operate in the conflict zone. In this situation, a number of Russian human rights NGO’s facilitated the Group’s functioning and delegated its members to work there.1
       Since March 1995, Human Rights NGOs’ Observer Mission headed by S.A.Kovalev has functioned in the region, after the State Duma sacked Mr.Kovalev from the post of Human Rights Commissioner. The Mission was initiated by HRC Memorial with representatives from its regional branches (Moscow, St.Petersburg and Ryazan), the Human Rights Project Group and State Duma members working as observers. The Open Society Foundation has provided support.
       Since January 1995, Human Rights Commissioner Group and later NGOs’ Observer Mission have been receiving complaints concerning torture and cruel and degrading treatment from persons detained in the conflict zone. They reported about so called filtration camps (FC). On the other hand, Russian officials claimed that persons suspected in fighting against federal forces were treated humanely. Thus, Chief of the General Staff M.Kolesnikov stated that «the prisoners were being treated normally, though from the formal point of view they should have been shot by firing squad as bandits».2
       The Group managed to find out that filtration camps were organized on the basis of Russian Interior Ministry Directives No 247/12.12.94 in late 1994 — early 1995 in Mozdok (North Ossetia), Stavropol and Pyatigorsk (Stavropol Region) and later in Grozny to check the identity of those detained, their responsibility for crimes and participation in fighting against the Russian army and interior troops.
       Filtration camp in Mozdok uses several railway carriages for inmates. In Pyatigorsk and Stavropol these camps are situated in pre-trial detention facilities (PDF). After Russian forces gained control over a major part of Grozny, a filtration camp was also set up there in the last week of January. Initially, it was situated at diary factory and then transferred to administrative quarters of an autotransportation company in the north-eastern part of Grozny.
       In the course of public investigation of these reports, accumulating testimonies of those who had been taken to FC, as well as direct visits there, the Human Rights Commissioner Group found gross and systematic human rights violations there and made these findings public through several Russian and foreign periodicals.
       Russian public, press and international organizations’ resulting pressure against mistreatment in detention in FC contributed significantly to certain improvements of conditions in detention, but in general the fate of detainees in the conflict zone is still tragic.
       The following report is based on:

Testimonies of those who have been detained at FC. (Interviews in Chechen Republic and Ingushetia taken by Human Rights Commissioner Group and NGOs’ Observer Group);


2. WITNESSES’ AND VICTIMS’ REPORTS — ANALYSIS1


       Notably, most of the people whose reports are being analysed below were proved not guilty — they were released after investigation. Nevertheless, at least some of them have suffered moral and physical damage.
       Most testimonies fall in two groups: reports about detentions in January — early February 1995 and reports of those detained in early April in Samashki. Apparently, it was during these periods that detentions assumed mass scale and detainees were most brutally abused.
       None of the FC staff or investigators ever introduced himself to the detainees. The only exceptions are Mozdok FC chief militia Lt.Col. V.N. Samarin, and later — militia Maj. A.P. Petrov, who used to sign documents given to detainees to the effect that the latter «were being kept in Mozdok FC for identity check up». The first known such case took place only on January 31, 1995 (see: Appendix 2). Before that the detainees upon release were given no certificate at all concerning the fact and reason of their detention.
       While evaluating the reliability of the detainees’ testimonies it should be noted that:

— Most of them were proved innocent and were released subsequently;

— People who do not know each other and who stayed in separate places often speak about the same characteristic details; their reports for the most part coincide though not absolutely;

— In some cases, unacquainted people who, according to their words, appeared to be at a FC at the same time, managed to recall during our interviews same fellow detainees;

— The dates provided by the detainees concerning their period of detention were confirmed by the corresponding FC records.

       The authors believe that this can be regarded as a very serious proof of the reliability of the testimonies.

* * *

       A filtration system for detainees has been in force in the conflict zone for more than 5 months. During this period it has become clear whether the real practice reflect initial tasks or not. FC system operates along Interior Ministry (MVD) lines: «Stolypin-type rail carriages, prison cars, PDFs, and, most important, staff investigators and guards. Both methods and style have been transferred from the current investigative and penitentiary practice.


       But peculiar features of the filtration system can also be seen — those which were not obviously preplanned and not clearly manifest in the preceeding MVD practice.

* * *


       The following section presents a summary of typical circumstances of detention, conditions in concentration points, transportation, functioning of FC and investigation.
2.1. DETENTIONS

According to our information, former detainees can be classified as detained:

— in Grozny;

— in villages;

— at checkpoints in the regions of Chechnya that are only partly controlled by Russian forces;

— in the regions under full control of Russian forces (Mozdok, etc.)

2.1.1. Detentions in Grozny

       Typical place of detention in Grozny — around a cannery where the assault group of Gen. Rokhlin had its headquarters since January 1. Those detained were for the most part men who had been hiding in nearby bomb shelters.
       An interviewee’s husband [See: App.1, #4] was detained together with other men in a shelter near the cannery about January 1: «Women were told to go, they detained men».
       Mataev [ib., 5] was detained on January 2 in a shelter near the cannery where civilians were hiding. All the men, about 30 people, were taken to FC in Mozdok.
       Meidiev [6] was detained by soldiers in a shelter on January 3 and taken to the cannery.
       Thus, a special «clean-up» operation was carried out in Grozny around the cannery before January 3 to provide rear suppport for the attacking forces. It included wide scale random detentions of male population and subsequent transportation to FC in Mozdok.
       This operation has been one of the largest in scale during Chechen war; it can be compared only to a similar operation in Samashki.

* * *


       People were detained in the region during the following weeks as well — as «fire spotters» and «fighters». They were also taken to the cannery, which was used as a concentration center and for interrogations. None of these people, however, appears to have been taken prisoner with weapon in hand; testimonies and publications suggest that Russian forces have been following a «no prisoner» tactic.
       Paragulgov, Khamidov and Nanahaev [2] were hiding in a cellar where they were detained by soldiers as «artillery spotters» on January 1. The soldiers tied Paragulgov to a tree during a mortar attack.
       Vairaev [3] was detained and beaten by soldiers near the cannery on January 1.
       Meidiev [6] was beaten at the cannery. They demanded that he should confess being a Dudaev fighter. They were citing Dudaev unit numbers, claiming that he belonged to one of them.
       Temurziev [8] was detained by the military on January 9 and taken to the cannery.
       Pliev [14] was detained in the street on January 17 and taken to the cannery.
       Later some people detained in Grozny were taken directly to FC in Mozdok or other penitentiary institutions.
2.1.2. Detentions in villages

       The case of Samashki (when about 150 villagers were taken to FC) was the most serious but not unique. Reports suggest that at least since January, after gaining control over villages, federal forces have resorted to mass detentions, sending detained people to FC. Information on several settlements is given below:
       Federal forces entered the village of Chervlenaya on January 10 after the villagers had voluntarily disarmed. On January 14, reportedly following a complaint by the villagers about disloyal sentiment towards Russian authorities, threats against the Russians and remaining weapons, several people were detained: Magomet Butsaev, Ruslan Serbeev, Salman Tselikov (42 years, deaf), Katash (37 years, ambulance driver), Yah’ya Beisultanov, Wahid Magomadov, Aslan Ginaev, Sub’yar Daudov, Ali Chadyev (military administration head in Chervlenaya), brothers Ramzan and Beslan Tolsultanov, Khalazhi Gabarov (suffering from epilepsy), Pasha, teenage refugee from Grozny, son of Radziyat Ilyasova. Butsaev along with others detained in Chervlenaya, except Ginaev, were released on January 24; Ginaev was released two days later [13].
       A similar operation took place in Naurskaya and Isherskaya on January 16, 142 pieces of small arms and more than 100 hand grenades being surrended the day before. In the course of this interior troops operation, 9 villagers were killed, 23 taken to FC. Engenoev brothers may have been among them [11]. There were numerous cases of pillage, and 4 houses were blown up. (V.Emelyanenko, «After йCasual Strollк. What’s Going on in Victors’ Rear?», Moscow News, January 22, 1995.)
       Coinciding dates of detention suggest that around January 18 the same happened to the village of Assinovskaya.

       Tsomaev [15] was detained in Assinovskaya on January 18; on January 26, he and several other detainees were exchanged for Russian soldiers. The Kaurgashvili brothers [16] were detained in their house in Assinovskaya on January 19. Chitaev [17] was detained in his house in Assinovskaya (also about January 18). Eight days later the whole cell was unexpectedly released.


       Thus, the investigation of villagers’ cases was carried simultaneously, frequently resulting in their release. This also proves that detentions were of mass and random character.
       There are reports about similar operations in other villages which were under control of federal forces in January — February.

* * *


       The most large scale operation was carried out in Samashki on April 7-8.
       Part of the villagers tried to escape before the «cleans-up» operation. They were detained at a checkpoint between Samashki and Sernovodsk (see next section) despite the fact that many had identity documents. Iziev [35] was detained on April 7 «together with other men»; some of them were later released. On April 8, «all men were detained — 12 people aged 56-16" [36].
       Mostly, people were detained in the village on April 8 [32], [38], etc. Again the soldiers ignored presented passports and registration; Habuev‘s [36] passport was torn up at the time of detention.
       The number of detained totalled about 150. Details of repression in Samashki will be the subject of a separate report.
2.1.3. Detentions at checkpoints

       There are reports about such detentions at the villages of Isherskaya, Assinovskaya, etc. However, most reports originate from people detained at the checkpoint between Sernovodsk and Samashki.
       Ugurchiev [12] was detained at a Russian checkpoint near Sernovodsk on January 12. Audiotapes were used as a pretext; tapes and recorder were confiscated.
       Mikail Musaevich Chaniev and Magomed Isropilovich Chaniev [18] were detained at a checkpoint near Sernovodsk on January 23. Idrisov [19], who was riding in his car, was detained together with them (he mentioned Chanievs as Chilievs). No grounds for detention were presented, the case was not recorded formally. Uniformed people beat and threatened to kill Idrisov. He saw other people being beaten and burnt with cigarette butts. Apparently, that same day another man was detained there [20] (reports date it to January 24, but numerous correlations suggest otherwise). No grounds for detention were presented, the case was not recorded formally. He saw 11 more detainees at the checkpoint. (For their reports see the section «Transportation by helicopters».)
       While driving home from work, Hidiev [21], deputy procurator of Sunzha district (Ingushetia), was also detained at the same place near Samashki by interior troops on the night of January 27. He showed his identity papers but was handcuffed and kept for 24 hours in a bus; he was then released.
       There are examples of totally random detentions at checkpoints:

That same day Mutaliev was detained [by another post?] when he was going by bus to Nazran. The bus was stopped at an MVD special force checkpoint. An officer ordered all young men out; the men were searched, taken to a trailer and declared marauders. (However, when they were brought to Mozdok their disembarkation was accompanied by words: «Here are captured fighters».)

       It should be noted that some detentions at checkpoints were not as random or unmotivated.


       For example, three villagers from Assinovskaya — Abdulaev [26], Shamsudinov [28] and Baisarov [27] — were detained on February 20, 21 and 24 respectively because they were carrying outdated 5 and 10 rouble notes. Notably, Shamsudinov was the only man detained in the bus, and Baisarov was told that the note was a password.
       It is likely that the soldiers received specific instructions how to detect fighters.
       However, the percentage of random, unmotivated and mass detentions was relatively high, as in Grozny and in the villages.
2.2. CONDITIONS IN CONCENTRATION CENTERS

       The first concentration center was actually set up at the cannery (during cleaning out shelters before January 5 and later, when the fighting started. Besides accumulating detainees for transportation, investigation was also carried there; many detainees became victims of unmotivated, irrational violence.
       One of the Generals at the HQ took part in the beating of Paragulgov and Khamidov [2] on January 2. They were threatened to be executed by firing squad.
       Vairaev [3] spent two days at the cannery.
       Meidiev [6] was beaten at the cannery; they demanded that he should confess being a Dudaev fighter. They were citing Dudaev units numbers, claiming that he belonged to one of them.
       Temurziev [8], detained by soldiers on January 9, when brought to the cannery was tied to a pole and passing soldiers beat him, hit with knives, burned him with cigarette butts.
       Pliev [14], detained on January 17, was kept at the cannery with 13 other people in harsh conditions for 36 hours.

* * *


       Later, concentration centers were used mainly to accumulate detainees from villages and checkpoints before transporting them to FC — sometimes for up to 3 days. Since federal forces could sometimes control the territory only within the dislocation of its units, concentration centers were frequently located at interior troops garrisons.
       For example, according to Butsaev [13], people who were detained in Chervlenaya on January 14

were taken to a nearby federal forces base and placed in prison cars. They were beaten. On January 15 and 16, the detainees were forced to stay in the open motionless on their knees with hands tied behind; they were all the time cursed and insulted; those who moved were beaten. They were laid in a trench and threatened with death by being buried alive.

Nevertheless,

a guard shift commander, a soldier called Sergei, treated the detainees humanely. He gave them cigarettes, hot tea, helped them stand up and made them move — those who were nearly paralyzed from many hours of standing on the knees during the previous shift.

       The detainees were taken for interrogation one by one.
       As a rule, up to April no investigation was carried out in concentration centers despite the fact that detainees were kept there for quite a long period of time. One of the exceptions was Jamulaev [25], a Sunzha district militia officer, detained on February 9 near Samashki. Instead of FC, he was taken to a federal forces base at Assinovskaya; he was beaten there, they demanded that he should show the location of «Ingush fighters».

* * *


       This practice went on through February-March up to early April, when conditions at FC improved relatively. Below follow the reports of two people: one was brought to FC from a concentration point on March 25 and the other witnessed the arrival of this group of detainees.
       Sekudin, a villager from Assinovskaya [30]:

They brought us «to some base», placed in an auto repair car: like solitary cell — you can neither lie, nor sit. I spent three days there. There were more people in other cells. You have a bandage on your eyes, hands tied, see nothing, hear nothing. No food, only water once a day. At night — midnight, 1 a.m. — they take you out, beat you, throw you back into the car half dead. Eyes bandaged, you can’t see how many they are, what they are doing. Took you out several times, beat you, burned you with cigarette butts. They took half of the clothes, took the money from my pocket.

Davletukaev [29]:

Most people — from a checkpoint at the crossroads in Samashki. Before taking detainees to Mozdok FC they were keeping them in a car at an MVD unit base. Without food, naked — up to 3 days. They were beaten, the last group, around March 24-25, was very heavily beaten, one elderly man (68 years) was tortured with a blow lamp. Those brought to FC were no longer beaten, they were provided medical care. If compared with this it’s like heaven at FC.

       Following is a brief summary of known concentration centers based on various reports.


2.2.1. Samashki area

       The concentration center was organized on April 8 at an army base’s former shooting  range in the hills of the Sunzha mountains, several kilometers north of Samashki, in the course of the interior troops operation to enter the village.
       There were 134 detainees there [37]. They were forced to lie on the ground, and sorting out began.
       They set dogs on the lying people [32,33]. According to Arsaev [38], it was not done deliberately: the soldiers were just walking with the dogs among the detainees (it is possible that the soldiers were trying to detect people who smelled weapons — authors). Some people («big men» [36]) were taken aside, beaten and set upon by dogs. All this was overseen by a General who had previously participated in negotiations with Samashki residents at a checkpoint on the road to Sernovodsk.
2.2.2. Assinovskaya area

       The detainees from Samashki were brought to a concentration center at an army base near Assinovskaya.
      Iziev [35]:

On April 7, we were taken out near Assinovskaya and brought to some hole. There was a prison car there; we were placed in this car. There were already 3 men, heavily beaten. In the car the detainees could take bandages off, but any time the doors were open their eyes had to be bandaged again.

Habuev [36]:

The detainees were kept in earth holes. Their eyes were bandaged, they were not allowed to raise their heads; under threat of beating and by throwing stones they were forced to stay motionless for long periods of time. The soldiers used to come down and beat the detainees.



* * *

       Investigation was also carried out at concentration centers.


       Iziev [35] was taken from the car for interrogations with his eyes bandaged. The interrogations were carried out in another hole nearby. Beatings were routine during interrogations, mainly on the kidneys and in the chest. They were forcing out a confession that the detainee was a fighter, demanded to show where he had hidden his weapons, etc. According to Iziev, the interrogators were saying, «There shouldn’t be the word »no". You are all Chechens — you must all have weapons." They were suggesting signing some document, not telling its contents.
       Torture with electric current was also applied. They attached wire to the detainee’s neck, someone would shout «turn», and an electric shock followed. Once the wire was placed into the mouth. Iziev had burns on his neck. He lost consciousness several times during the interrogations.
       This report about torture with electric current is the first after a long pause. Previous reports were connected with interrogations at Mozdok FC in January.
       Iziev witnessed how other people were taken out of the car for interrogations; they came back beaten. The detainees were given neither food, nor water.
       However, the interrogations were of a strange and random nature. Besides stereotype demands to give in the weapons and confess being a fighter, there were questions like, «Where is Dudaev? Which routes does he move along?» [33] The villagers from Samashki could hardly know the answer.
       The majority of those detained on April 8 were taken on trucks to Mozdok.
       On April 9, Habuev together with 28 other detainees were put into a truck. They were forced to make all the way to the truck on their hands and knees along the line of soldiers, who were beating them and setting dogs. They were told that they would be shot. The truck took them to the Sunzha mountain range between Samashki and Sernovodsk. There the detainees were released; they were let free in their choice to go to either village. [36]
       Apparently, the aim of this procedure was to break and threaten the people — even before their release.
2.2.3. Shali area

       There are also similar concentration centers in other districts.
       On April 8, a mentally retarded young man left his home and never returned. The man who reported the story [40] found out that he had been detained and taken to the 506th Mechanised Brigade base where detainees were kept in earth holes.
       Brigade officers claimed that the young man (the reporter’s nephew) was detained with a grenade launcher.
       Apparently, this center is still operating. Here is the latest report available:
       A villager from Shali [41] was detained at a checkpoint because of «invalid identity» on May 15. They put a bandage on his eyes, put him into an APC and brought him to a troop base near Shali, where he was kept in a hole 2 by 3 meters along with about 20 people. After 18 hours he was released without a single interrogation. The victim reported extortion on the part of the guards, who had been offering release for money.
       Corruption at concentration centers appears to be natural result of their uncontrolled and vague status.
       Situated at army bases beyond control and verification, concentration centers became in February-March the site of the most irrational violence and cruel and degrading acts against the detainees, making them fully dependent on the guards’ will.
2.3. TRANSPORTATION OF DETAINEES TO FC
2.3.1. Transportation by trucks

       Initially, detainees were brought from concentration centers to FC by trucks. The largest group was transported around January 3, when detainees from the cannery area were taken to FC. (See: 2.1.1) The guard placed people in such a way that it rendered escape physically impossible, and inhuman conditions en route discouraged the detainees from the very thought of escape.
       We have numerous reports about this convoy.
       Vairaev, January 3 [3]:

There were 63 people in the truck. On the way two died of suffocation; six were shot right there in the truck. Their bodies made all the way to Mozdok. They were beating us all the time.



A detainee’s wife [4]:

When people were taken from Grozny to Mozdok they were loaded in several layers in the truck, and they suffocated.

       Mataev [5] witnessed detainees’ death in the trucks on the way from Grozny to Mozdok:

Some were shot by the guards, others, who were lying on the floor, suffocated.

       No doubt, reported killings and deaths of detainees on the way from Grozny to Mozdok on January 3 must be investigated.
       The same practice was followed even when people could have been accomodated more comfortably. For example, one of the victims [3] reported that around January 10, 18 people were transported «in piles». On January 19 Pliev [14] and 13 other detainees were transported by trucks to Mozdok FC.

* * *


       Finally, road accidents also occured. on January 27, when Mutaliev [22] was being transported together with other detainees from the checkpoint to a helicopter site.

The car which was transporting 33 people was driven by a drunk officer and soldier. After about 200 meters the car overturned, many people got injured. The rest, 25 detainees, were taken to the helicoptercopter site and put into the aircraft.

       Beginning in late January — early February, detainees were transported to Mozdok mainly by helicopters.

* * *

       Another case of transportation of a large number of detainees on trucks was connected with counterinsurgency operation in the village of Samashki.


       Shamsaev [37]:

Sixty-eight people were sent to Mozdok FC. When the detainees were taken to the trucks they were led «through the line»; they were beaten and set upon by dogs. Many got bitten.

A group of detainees, including Arsaev, was led to the trucks. The soldiers started beating people heavily and set dogs on them. Arsaev was bitten twice, he got several blows and lost concsiousness. [38]

      Suleimanov [34]:

People were loaded into the truck in four layers and covered with boards; the soldiers sat over them and the trucks started off somewhere.

Arsaev [38] recovered in the truck where the detainees were lying in four layers.

2.3.2. Transportation by helicopters

       The number of federal forces’ checkpoints in Chechnya did not provide sufficient territorial control for transportation of detainees. For example, when Davletukaev was being transported on an APC to Mozdok around March 10, the crowd stopped the convoy and released the detainees by force. [30]
       Beginning in the second half of January, when the number of transported detainees was the largest, they were mainly transported by helicopters.

* * *


       Helicopters were used to transport detainees from newly captured villages (see: Detentions in the villages).
       According to Butsaev [13], a group of detainees from Chervlenaya was put in a helicopter and taken to Mozdok on January 16. People were laid in three layers. Those who moved were beaten. Upon arrival to Mozdok military airport Ali Chadyev was heavily beaten right near the aircraft, because the guard said he was a «Dudaev special force commander».
       On January 18, Tsomaev [15], Chitaev [17] and other detainees from Assinovskaya were transported by helicopter to Mozdok area; they were constantly beaten on the way.

* * *


       Detainees were also transported by helicopters from FC for exchange.
       On January 22-23 (approximately), Pliev [14] was taken by helicopter with a group of detainees for exchange for Russian POWs, but the deal failed.
       On January 26 Tsomaev [15] and a group of detainees were taken by helicopter to Khasavurt where they were exchanged for Russian POWs.

* * *


       At the same period helicopters started being used for transportation of detainees from checkpoints to FC. The procedure was cruel: people with their eyes bandaged were laid uncomfortably in several layers and heavily beaten. Collective disobedience would cause much more grave consequences in aircrafts rather than in ground vehicles. Cruel treatment — uncomfortable positions and constant beatings — apparently had the aim to enforce discipline.
       The guards may have been motivated by the same reason when they killed detainees during the flight or imitated killings: people could not make it out because their eyes were bandaged. We have two reports on the matter [19] and [20].
       On January 23 or 24, Idrisov [19] and about 30 other detainees were brought by helicopter to Mozdok FC.
       The detaines had bandages on their eyes. They were heavily beaten in the helicopter. According to Idrisov, one detainee was killed and his body thrown out of the helicopter (or may be this was only an imitation).
       Apparently, that same day another detainee was brought to Mozdok by helicopter. According to the witness, two detainees were killed and their bodies thrown out of the helicopter (or may be this was only an imitation). All detainees were threatened with death.
       Reported killings of detainees transported to Mozdok on board the helicopter on January 23 or 24 must be investigated.

* * *


       On January 27, Mutaliev [22] along with 25 detainees who survived the road accident (see: Transportation by trucks) were taken to a helicopter site and put into an aircraft.
       Inside everyone was laid on the floor and beating started. The detainees were also robbed (100 000 roubles were taken from Mutaliev). Disembarkment in Mozdok was accompanied by the words, «We have brought captured fighters». Again the detainees were beaten.

* * *


       Below follow two other reports about the same group. On January 29, Chekiev [23], who was detained at Assinovskaya, was brought by helicopter together with other detainees to Mozdok. During the flight the detainees were threatened with being thrown out of the helicopter.
       Batashev [24], who was detained on the same day at the same place, was thrown to the truck with his eyes bandaged and taken to the airport at Sleptsovskaya. They broke his nose with a club before putting him into the helicopter, threw him into a mud ditch left by tank with his hands tied, broke his jaw with a rifle butt and threatened to kill. Batashev was brought to Mozdok FC by helicopter and again beaten upon arrival.

* * *


       This practice remained mostly unchanged. There are similar reports pertaining to February:
       Abdulaev [26]

was detained at a checkpoint near Assinovskaya on February 20. Two detainees were driven in a jeep to a small wagon in the field; there were already two people there. They were brought to Mozdok by helicopter; before boarding they were beaten. From the helicopter they were brought to FC by car.

       ... and March:

Sekudin [30]:

On the evening March 25, six people with eyes bandaged were put into helicopters on the floor, the guards sitting over, and taken to Mozdok. In the Mozdok airport they were thrown out of the helicopter and beaten ferociously, then put into a car and brought to the carriages.


2.3.3. Transportation on foot

       Transportation of large groups of detainees on foot was a rare case; however, in one known case the guards acted with utmost cruelty.
       On April 8, male detainees in Samashki were brought to a bakery; they were forced to take off clothes, except trousers, and shoes. Then, surrounded by several armoured vehicles, they were forced to go to the «camp» (the villagers refer to an army unit base at a former shooting stand in the hills of the Sunzha mountain range, several kilometers north of the village). People were made to run; those who fell behind were kicked and beaten with rifle butts. [32-37]
       The character of this operation suggest possible killing of one or more detainees by the guards:
       According to Suleimanov [33],

Those who fell behind were shot; the soldiers made the detainees put stretchers with a wounded man on the ground and shot him [he was not an eyewitness to that]. We were beaten on the way.

According to Habuev [36],

People were beaten on the way, they shot a wounded man who was carried on a stretcher by relatives [he was not an eyewitness to the execution].



Arsaev [38] reported that

One wounded villager [Albi Shamsaev, nickname Dudu] was carried in the convoy by his brother and cousins. The guards forced the men to put the stretcher on the ground when still in the village, near the railway station. After that there was a shot: the witness suggested that the wounded had been killed. According to him, those who fell behind and fell on the ground were shot.

According to Shamsaev [37],

On April 7, his elder brother was wounded during an artillery attack. On April 8, the witness and his brother were detained in their house. Along with others, they were taken to an army base several kilometers north of Samashki. On the way the soldiers shot his brother.

Reported deaths of detainees during transportation on foot from Samashki on April 8 must be investigated.

2.4. FILTRATION CAMP

       We have practically no information on Mozdok FC for the period of December 1994. Most likely, «mercenaries» were held there — the Jordanians who had been detained in Mozdok in mid December. (See: S.A.Kovalev’s press-conference on 5.1.95 at 16.00, Izvestia conference hall, Moscow.)
       The first interviewee (Israilov [1]) was brought there on January 25, when 4 people were held in one car of Mozdok FC. But main points of his testimony were confirmed by dozens of interviewees.
2.4.1. Investigation

       The media has devoted much space to describing methods of distingushing fighters (rifle butt bruises on the shoulder, trigger signs on the forefinger, burnt powder, etc):

A Moscow OMON group, which has taken our photo correspondent for a «cleaning up» operation, is acting professionally. The first detained youngster is forcibly seated on the ground. «Roll up your trousers,» orders the commander of the group. The guy has a bruise on the knee: the professional mark of a grenade launcher. Another mark, slightly burnt skin behind the ear, is a result of shooting exercises. There will be FC and a criminal case. Hundreds and thousands of cases.



(A. Zheludkov, Scars on Fates, Izvestia, 22.3.95; picture taken by V.Mashatin.)

       However, only one victim (Mutaliev [22] at FC on January 27-31) reported such check at FC.


       The questions of interrogators were usually of a general and stereotype character: «Were you a fighter, whom of the fighters do you know?» It appears that the interrogator may have not had information on the detainee. The guards, however, called all detainees «fighters».
       General absense, as mentioned above, of reliable information before detainment and expertise after has made confession the main objective of the investigation.
       Confession is forced out by traditional means. Almost all detainees were heavily beaten at FC. More sophisticated torture was also applied.
       According to Paragulgov [2], they cut feet of Hasan Hamidov with a bayonet knife and burned him with cigarette butts (before January 5).
       Detainee [9] reported about «pressing fingers with pliers» (before January 15).
       Most reports about torture with electric current at Mozdok FC date to January (Jamalhanov [16]: between January 16 and 26; Butsaev [13]: on January 18; Tsomaev [15] and Chitaev [17]: after January 18; Pliev [14]: around January 20).
       There is a report about death of a detainee as a a result of torture and beatings.
       Around April 14, a Russian man Albert Kul’kov, apparently mentally ill, was brought to FC (the intreviewee could not recall his name exactly). He was heavily beaten; they wanted him to confess being a sniper. After the interrogation he was brought to the carriage unconscious, apparently with his neck spine injured. He stayed unconscious for 24 hours; then, according to the guards, he was taken to hospital. [35]
       There are many reports that beatings and torture were carried out, as a rule, either by the staff or people in masks. Investigators usually were polite and thoroughly put everything on record. In other cases, the investigator did not take part in the beatings, staying for this time in another part of the investigation carriage. Iziev heard similar things happening in adjacent compartments. The questions were all the same as before; besides, they suggested signing a document without reading it, or confession that it had been the fighters who started shooting from the village. [35]
2.4.2. Conditions in detention

       Cruel treatment of detainees was a general rule. They were routinely beaten upon arrival to FC. Treatment could improve subsequently, but it largely depended on the stuff on shift. For example,
Butsaev [13]:

The guards beat detainees with clubs every time when they were taken to the toilet. They were given 6 to 10 seconds. [January 14-27]

Mutaliev [22]:

The guards at FC beat people only when taking them to the toilet. [January 27-31]

Davletukaev [29]:

Treatment largely depends on the shift on duty; some give only 5 seconds to attend your needs: to enter toilet from that end, do everything in five seconds and run there back — it’s impossible. [March — early April]

       However, according to many reports, after uproar in the press and subsequent replacement of staff, treatment improved considerably. Food also improved, upon request they started giving water and taking to the toilet.
       Medical care was obviously inadequate.

[35] Medical care was limited to a military doctors general examination; he used to give iodine and one tablet for all diseases. When a man told him about broken ribs he just gave bandage for the guy to do it himself.

[38] A doctor used to come to the carriage and examine the detainees on request: he was applying iodine to dog bites and bruises from beatings, not registering such injuries.

FC was visited by various commissions.



[38]: ICRC representatives visited FC between April 10 and 14. Before the visit the guards were threating the detainees, trying to prevent their complaints, «They will go and you will stay here.»

Release procedure was usually routine; thus, in December:



Israilov [1] was released; he signed a no grievance statement. He was not given any certificate concerning his stay at FC.

And in April:



Arsaev [38] was released on April 14, he was given a no grievance statement to sign.

* * *


       In general, mass filtration system (having failed to fulfill its main objective — sorting out fighters) has become a trial ground for mass terror system, with the following features:

— people are detained at random;

— physical pressure is the main method and confession is the main aim of the investigation;

— cruel treatment during detention, transportation and at FC.




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