27 April 2010, 21:50

Defendants in "Neva-Express" explosion case state being tortured in Lefortovo

Relatives of the persons accused of blowing up the "Neva-Express" train in autumn 2009 report facts of torture and psychological pressure applied to their relatives for almost two months.

Residents of Ekazhevo village - Zelimkhan Aushev and nine members of the Kartoev family - were detained on March 2 by the power agents who conducted a special operation in the village. It became known later that on that day in Ekazhevo one of the underground leaders - Said Buryatskiy - was killed.

Bilan Aushev, a resident of the village, said: "People didn't know what was happening and went out to look. They asked about the reason of shooting and thought that someone could need help. Federals killed four Kartoevs and detained nine more. It was six in the morning. The federals, without presenting themselves and not saying from what agency they were from, surrounded the house of our relative Zelimkhan and went inside. Zelimkhan, 25, is the senior among nine children in the family, others are younger. They brought their passports and presented them to the federals. They asked his name again and then brought someone from the neighbours to confirm that it was really Zelimkhan. Then they took him away to the FSB in Magas."

As asserted by Bilan Aushev, when an advocate, hired by the family, came to Zelimkhan, she saw him sitting in some office with about 20 FSB agents around him. "And he said to the advocate: 'They tell me that I had blown up some train.' He had never heard the word 'Neva-Express'. They demanded him to confess; they beat him and broke his ribs. Then, he was taken to Moscow with other detainees. Some days later, the court ruled on the measure of freedom restriction. And recently Zelimkhan and two Kartoevs were taken to the Tver Region, to the place where the explosion took place. There, they were beaten and tortured for two days," Bilan Aushev asserts.

He also said that the witnesses who should have recognized the detainees as the organizers of the explosion said that they had never seen any of them. Then, the Ingushes were again brought to Moscow. Access of advocates to them is hampered, as Lefortovo bosses decide whether to let defenders in or not.

"We don't know how to help our relatives. We wrote to the "Memorial", other organizations and Russian Ombudsman; however, we could not change the situation yet. What can we do? Just writing applications," said one of the relatives.

A source close to the investigation said, on the conditions of anonymity, to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that the following methods are applied to the suspects: they put a bag over the head, stick the mouth, beat heels with truncheons and torture with electric current; or fill one's mouth with some liquid, threaten with violent sexual actions and promise to photograph raping them and place in the Internet, and send video with rape to relatives. Besides, they threaten to make some injection, which will kill them.

He also said that detainees are visited by certain persons, who present themselves as law enforcers. They also threaten with torture, if the suspects refuse to evidence against themselves and other persons, or to admit the crimes they never committed. Also, they demand from the detainees to reject their advocates and insist that the lawyers provided by preliminary inquiry bodies take parting the case.

The state of health and psychological condition of those suspects who were tortured is grave, said the source; but they are afraid to complain to anyone.

Ruslan Altirov, another Zelimkhan Aushev's relative, told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that Aushev managed to write an application to a human rights organization and pass it over via his lawyer. However, their meeting was shadowed by insulator's employees who did not allow the lawyer to take the paper out. The latter was locked by force in the cell together with the client and only half an hour later, when tore the document, he was allowed to go out.

"Detainees' relatives addressed President of Ingushetia on these issues. Evkurov said that those guilty would stay there, those innocent - would come back home. Even if we assume that the men, those four assassinated Kartoevs, whose houses were burnt down, were guilty of something, what about their families, wives and children?" asked Altirov.

The Investigatory Committee at the Prosecutor's Office (ICPO) of the Russian Federation, where the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent addressed by phone and with letters trying to learn anything about the details of the investigation of the "Neva-Express" train explosion, gave no answer.

Author: Lydia Mikhalchenko; Source: CK correspondent

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