House burned down by law enforcers in the village of Yandi, Achkhoi-Martan District, December 7 2014. Photo provided by the HRC "Memorial" press-service.

10 December 2014, 19:43

Rights defenders condemn practice of burning down houses of militants' relatives after attack on Grozny

The international human rights organization "Amnesty International" (AI) has demanded from the Russian authorities to punish those responsible for burning down houses belonging to relatives of the militants killed during the attack on Grozny.

Local residents reported to the "Caucasian Knot" earlier that on December 7 in the village of Yandi, Achkhoi-Martan District of Chechnya, law enforcers burnt down houses of three families of relatives of the members of the armed underground killed on December 4 in Grozny.

On December 9, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" confirmed the information of the "Caucasian Knot" about burning down houses of militants' relatives in Chechnya. According to rights defenders, on December 6-7, in Chechnya, law enforcers burned down six houses belonging to relatives of the militants killed in the attack on Grozny on December 4.

On the night of December 4 militants attacked policemen in Grozny. The Chechen capital was put under the counterterrorist operation regime. Most of the attackers took refuge in the House of Press, and some of them – in School No. 20; both buildings were blocked. According to latest reports, the fight resulted in 11 killed members of the armed underground and 14 lost power agents; other 36 law enforcers were wounded.

Russian authorities should immediately investigate the facts of burning down houses in Chechnya, the AI has stated today.

"The punishment of relatives of those suspected of involvement in the crime is an outrageous violation of the international law. Such collective punishment cannot be justified. The federal authorities should conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the facts of burning down houses and bring the perpetrators to a fair trial," the AI's website quotes John Dalhizen, the AI's Director for Europe and Central Asia.

The burning down of relatives' houses is "an absolute violation of the law" and "is contrary to any principles of the law," said Svetlana Gannushkina, a member of the Board of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" and the head of the Committee "Civil Assistance".

Arsons committed by law enforcers of houses belonging to families suspected of having links with militants in Chechnya were recorded earlier. In particular, the fact that on July 4, 2009, armed men set fire to the house of the Yunusov family, whose 20-year-old daughter Madina married a militant charged of involvement in the Chechen armed underground, was reported to the "Caucasian Knot" by Natalia Estemirova, an employee of the Grozny branch of the HRC "Memorial", who was later abducted and murdered.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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