25 March 2004, 17:50

Dangerous symptom

January 2004

A workshop was held in Kislovodsk in May 2002 involving human rights advocates, representatives of the migration service, passport and visa service, and Chechen judges. At the end of a report by Muguev, an officer of Chechnya's passport and visa service, Lidia Yusupova, chief of the Human Rights Center Memorial's office in Grozny, asked him a question about an ID check at the Kavkaz check-point and illegal faultfinding with a female city resident's passport.

"You know, don't you, the woman could have disappeared after that?" she said.

"Wrong!" Muguev returned emotionally, "there is an order not to detain women."

The order has been canceled, obviously, since they started to search for female suicide bombers in Chechnya, aside from gangsters and terrorists. Women have more and more often been mentioned on lists of abducted and missing people in Chechnya.

Developments in early 2004 give reasons to believe the order not to detain women has been canceled. Nine women were illegally detained in Chechnya in January, seven of them considered missing.

Lipkhan Bazaeva, a Memorial officer in Nazran, has been subject to persecution, too.

Unknown armed people in masks coming by three UAZ vehicles after 11 p.m. on January 4, 2004, abducted five members of a family from their flat at 11, 123 Mayakovsky, Staropromyslovskii district, Grozny:

Petimat Khumparovna Gambulatova, b. 1945 (mistress of the house)

Louise Shitaevna Musaeva, b. 1973 (daughter)

Lisa Shitaevna Musaeva, b. 1975 (daughter)

Salmatu Shitaevna Musaeva, b. 1965 (daughter, Khusieva by married name)

Magomed Shitaevich Musaev, b. 1977 (son)

Eyewitnesses say three UAZ vehicles pulled over at house N123 late in the evening. Getting out of the vehicles, some armed people in masks and camouflage uniforms (presumably officers of a federal law enforcement or security agency) surrounded the house, then some of them went in. Before knocking on the Musaevs' door, the military twice knocked on the wrong door: at first they entered flat N55 and the second time flat N10 (where the Yusupov family live). In both cases the military checked the tenants' ID and left the room seeing those were not the people they were searching for.

At the third attempt, the military found the Musaevs' flat where the above-mentioned people were, as well as Magomed's wife, Milana, with a small baby and Lisa's two small children. The Musaev sisters are married and live separately with their families. They had come to stay with their mother not so long before the described event.

The military entered the room. They had a sheet of paper with the names of the Musaev family. Reading out the names of the five people, the military men ordered them to prepare to go suggesting that they put on warm clothes. No other explanations were given. The mother, Petimat Gambulatova, her three daughters Louise, Lisa and Salmatu and her son Magomed were taken out, seated in a vehicle (UAZ 452), and carried off without the destination indicated.

The next day the Musaevs' relatives applied to the district police department. An investigation team of prosecution and police officers came to the scene.

Formerly, on December 25, 2003, strangers coming by a VAZ 21099 vehicle (steel-blue, darkened windows, without a license plate) had abducted a member of this family, Akhmad Shitaevich Musaev, b. 1986, from a bus stop. A friend of Akhmad (his name is unavailable) who was abducted along with him was thrown out of a vehicle near "Sobachevka," beaten, two days after the abduction. However, he was unable to say who abducted them, where they were kept, and what happened to Akhmad Musaev.

Memorial officers managed to meet with Khumid Musaev, Petimat Gambulatova's brother. He told them about details of the abduction of his sister and her family.

He also told them about Akhmad Musaev's abduction.

"That day we invited people to say a mawlid (a holy prayer), this was four days after we buried our mother. A friend of Akhmad came from Pervomaiskaia to express his condolences that day. Some time later, Akhmad went out to see him to the public transport stop. In a while, people came to us and said some strangers had taken Akhmad and his friend. They told us a steel-blue VAZ 21099 vehicle with darkened windows and without a license plate had pulled over near them. Three armed men in camouflage uniforms, two in masks, got out the vehicle. They shoved both young men into the vehicle by force and left towards the city."

Unknown armed people in masks coming by UAZ vehicles and speaking Russian abducted the following people at various times of the day on January 9, 2004:

Madina Idrisovna Aldamova, b. 1972, resident in M. Mazaev St.;

Aslan Ruslanovich Sambiev, b. 1979, resident at 89 Kh. Nuradilov St.;

Anzor Vakhaevich Baigiriev, b. 1974, resident in Argunskaia St.

Relatives of the abducted people applied to the Grozny rural district police department and prosecutor's office on January 9 morning. An investigation team worked at the scene.

Supported by other villagers, the relatives of the abducted people blocked the federal highway on the village outskirts connecting Grozny, Shatoi, and Itum-Kali on January 10. The picketers demanded authorities at all levels should pay attention to the event and take active measures to find the abducted people.

The villagers were especially indignant at the fact that a young woman was among the abducted people. At noon, after insistent requests of the abducted woman's father, Idris Aldamov, the highway was unblocked and the people went home. Aldamov told them authorities promised him and other relatives of the abducted people to look into the matter.

Aslan Sambiev was released on January 11. The military brought him to the village and he got out at his house. Afraid of another detention, Aslan has lately preferred not to stay at home most time.

Unknown men put Madina Aldamova out of a vehicle, her hands tied up and a bag on her head, in Argun on January 12. Madina refused to speak about her abduction for personal security.

The Aldamovs' neighbors said some strangers broke in their house at about 2.30 a.m. on January 9. Knowing well the layout of the house, they went at once to the room where Madina and her aunt were asleep.

Her parents sleeping in another room were blocked by the strangers. They were ordered to keep silence, and the strangers assured the girl's father Madina would be allowed to go after an interrogation.

Madina's father, Idris Aldamov, applied to the military quartered on the village outskirts on January 10, trying to find out where his daughter was. The military said they were not involved in this abduction and had no information on her whereabouts.

Madina Aldamova's neighbors say she is an officer of a humanitarian organization working with refugees in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge. Aldamova lived in Georgia from the beginning of military action. She came home a day before the abduction. This circumstance might have served as the reason for her abduction.

Armed Russian law enforcement / security officers in masks at about 2 p.m. on January 15, 2004, detained Elsa Adievna Gaitamirova, b. 1973, resident at 31 Budenny St., Gekhi, Urus-Martan district.

Elsa' mother, Rosa Gaitamirova, witnessed the detention:

"My daughter Elsa and me were coming back from Urus-Martan where we met with Abdullah Kovraev, Urus-Martan district deputy head of administration responsible for law enforcement and security agencies.

It was about 2 p.m. when we reached home. Suddenly, two VAZ 21099 vehicles without license plates pulled over right at our gates. Armed people in camouflage uniforms and masks got out the vehicles. They seized Elsa and began to shove her into the vehicle. They did not give any explanations of their actions. They didn't even say who they were. They put my daughter Elsa into one of the vehicles by force and left.

I went to the district center right away and applied to the Urus-Martan district law enforcement and security agencies and the administration. I wasn't able to find out where she was, though.

Even now I don't know what my daughter is guilty of, and I am completely puzzled. My daughter Elsa has four children. The eldest one is just eight. Besides, she grows the children alone, since her husband, Rumid-Babek Khomadovich Isaev, a native of Kulary, has been missing since 2001."

Elsa Gaitamirova was detained several times over the past few months, and she was once even considered missing.

Thus, Russian law enforcement / security officers first detained her at dawn on October 11, 2003.

They delivered her to the Urus-Martan district police department. In 24 hours after her detention, she was delivered to the Gekhi head of administration and she was able to return home. The motives for Elsa's detention remained unknown.

Elsa received a writ on December 1 that suggested that she come to the Urus-Martan district police department on December 2, 2003. She went to Urus-Martan on December 2, but she didn't return home after that.

Rosa Gaitamirova then told our officer:

"My daughter and I went to the Urus-Martan district police department on December 2, as indicated in the writ she had received. She went by herself, but she didn't come home that or the next day.

I went to police to find her on December 3, 2003. The criminal investigation chief told me my daughter was detained. But he didn't tell me what she was detained for and for how long. The chief told me at first she would be released on the next day, but then he added her release was possible only after the elections.

In a few days I learnt my daughter was not at the department. The same chief told me she had been taken to Grozny. I have since been going round department offices, but I haven't been able to talk more to him or anyone else. I am totally ignorant as regards my daughter's detention. I actually don't even know where they keep her. Let alone what she is charged with. I am not too literate, but I know relevant agencies were to inform me about that.

The only thing I learnt from unofficial sources is that she is kept by Chechnya's Internal Affairs Ministry. But I haven't received an official confirmation."

Elsa Gaitamirova was released on January 2; she was kept at the Urus-Martan boarding school, as she said.

As mentioned above, Gaitamirova was abducted almost in 2 weeks, on January 15, and there is no knowing of her whereabouts.

Louise Mutaeva, b. 1984, temporarily resident with her family at 60 Bershanskaia St., Assinovskaia, Sunzha district, was abducted at 1.40 a.m. on January 19, 2004. According to the abducted woman's mother, Sovdat Dumatovna Mutaeva, b. 1948, more than 20 Russian military men came to their house that night. Only six of them did not wear masks. The group of vehicles that pulled over at this woman's house was led by a 7th-model Zhiguli followed by two UAZ 469, one Gazelle, and two UAZ 452 vehicles. A 99th-model silvery Zhiguli was at the end of this column. But these are only the vehicles Sovdat Mutaeva saw herself.

Meanwhile, her neighbors told her some vehicles with Russian military men inside had stood in other streets around her house, too. Apparently, they had blocked the entire district to prevent any one of her family from escaping.

When the military men knocked on the door, all the family members were asleep. The first to wake up, Sovdat's disabled husband Daud Ferzauli (he lost one leg), woke up his wife. He told her: "Somebody's come there."

Without opening the door, the woman asked in Chechen: "Mila vu tsigakh'?" ("Who's there?") From the outside, she heard the answer in Russian: "Open the door, it's an ID check!"

Sovdat Mutaeva no longer doubted the military was there, so she returned it was midnight and no ID checks could be at that time. "Open the door by yourself!" they shouted. "We have our orders!"

Seeing they would come in all the same, even if they would have to break the door open, the woman lifted the latch.

The military in muddy boots rushed in. Sovdat Mutaeva said, "Wait, no dogs living here," and removed the rug from the floor.

One military man asked where the men were, and she told them only her husband, Daud Ferzauli, b. 1930, and her 12-year-old son Eliskhan were in. Her elder son Isa (Ferzauli) Mutaev had been detained by Akhmat Kadyrov's security service near Shaami-Yurt back on January 21, 2003, and had since been missing.

The woman, without going into details, naturally, told the intruders her elder son had been taken away a year before.

In reply, they asked to show the family's passports. Having scanned the passports, the military gave them back. It seemed to Mutaeva they were going to leave already. Yet, they addressed her two daughters that were in another room, Louise Mutaeva, b. 1984, and Madina Mutaeva, b. 1988, and all of a sudden demanded: "Get ready! Put on your shawls, it'll be cold." The girls asked where they would take them. "Don't be afraid of anything," they replied. "Follow us to the vehicle. We'll let you go after an interrogation."

The younger sister began to cry. Turning to her, one military man wearing a mask said again: "Don't be afraid, we'll interrogate and let you go. I promise nothing will happen to you." Madina Mutaeva said later it seemed to her this man had spoken Russian with a noticeable accent.

When the military took the daughters out, their mother tried to prevent them. They easily threw her aside, like they pushed aside their shouting disabled father, too. Already in the doorway, Louise Mutaeva pointed at her sister and said she wasn't going anywhere. "I'll go with you alone," she said, and pushed Madina back into the room. The military man looked at her and uttered: "Ok."

The military intruders had not paid any attention to her 12-year-old son who is so tall that he looks much older, Sovdat Mutaeva says. She believes this confirms the fact they had come specifically for her daughter.

In spite that the military tried to not to let her out pushing her back, she still managed to go out in the yard and then she slipped in the street. There she saw a Gazelle vehicle standing in the middle of the road. The door was open, her daughter, already handcuffed, standing near it. She tried to calm down her mother saying they would do nothing against Allah's will. Should there be his will, she would come back.

Sovdat grabbed on the vehicle's door and reiterated she would come with her daughter, but they tore her off and pushed aside from the vehicle. At the same time, they made Louise get in and slammed the door; the military got in the vehicles and quickly left Assinovskaia. Sovdat doesn't know where. The only thing she had time to notice was that none of the vehicles had a license plate.

Without going back into the house, the abducted girl's mother with her younger daughter ran to the village administration where the local police office was, too. However, there wasn't anyone, even a man on duty.

Sovdat and her daughter did not go to the head of administration, as they knew he did not spend nights at home. They came back to their place and only then they saw that the beds in which Louise and Madina sleep were turned upside down. The military had taken away the family videos and Indian movies stored under them. They had not taken anything else from the house.

The next morning, the abducted girl's mother went to the district center, Achkhoi-Martan. There she addressed some service men from the so-called Kadyrov's units. They next visited the district security and police authorities but failed to find the girl there. The "Kadyrovites" assumed officers of a special service, presumably the Federal Security Service (FSB), had come to detain her directly from Khankala.

Nazarbek Terkhoev, Assinovskaia head of administration, who visited all law enforcement and security agencies in the Achkhoi-Martan district searching for Louise, was not able to find out anything about her, either. He also said she was apparently to be searched for in Khankala, but he confessed he had no access there.

Louise Mutaeva is a sister of Malizha Mutaeva, b. 1971, supposed to have taken part in the hostage-taking in Dubrovka, Moscow. After that, Russian military men exploded her family's house at 12 Bednyi St. in Assinovskaia at about 6 a.m. on December 3 or 4, 2002. Daud Ferzauli and Sovdat Mutaeva, the girl's father and mother, were asleep there at the moment; they remained alive by chance, luckily.

Investigation representatives have never applied to the Mutaevs-Ferzaulis as regards their daughter's possible participation in the hostage-taking. They haven't seen the list of dead attackers, and no one has suggested that they take part in identification.

Only once, on January 20, 2003, a day before his abduction, Isa Mutaev, the son of Sovdat Mutaeva and Daud Ferzauli, was called to the Sunzha district police department where they showed him pictures of the killed female participants in the Dubrovka action and suggested that he identify his sister. He did not recognize her. He said Malizha Mutaeva was not in the pictures he was shown.

Service men in masks abducted Milana Beslanovna Ozdoeva, b. 1982, from 68 Lenin St., Katyr-Yurt, Achkhoi-Martan district, on January 19, 2004.

The military men that abducted her did not explain the reasons for her detention, nor did they say where she would be delivered; they just said they were obeying their orders.

Milana Ozdoeva (her married name) has two small children. She had lived in Ingushetia with her husband's relatives until early 2004. In early January, after her husband's death, Milana came back to her parents living in Katyr-Yurt.

The military had called on them on December 29, 2003, before Ozdoeva came to her parents; they asked her mother, Liubov Dubas, where her daughter was. Her mother, afraid for her daughter, addressed Chersi Gataev, acting chief of the Achkhoi-Martan district police department, with a request to explain who and why took interest in Milana. Gataev did not conceal in the conversation that the FSB was really interested in Ozdoeva, but he did not say why.

On January 5, when Milana had already arrived in the village and was at the administration, officers of an unknown law enforcement or security agency met with her at her mother's work. One of them who said his name was Mikhail Yevseev told Milana: "We have information you want to become a suicide bomber." Milana replied: "I have two small children, and I am far from what you are saying." Leaving, the man advised that Ozdoeva's mother keep an eye on her daughter.

The second time the military met with Milana at her parent's home on January 9. This time, the same Mikhail Yevseev told Milana someone had left for Russia using her passport, supposedly. In response, Milana showed them her passport and said it was up to them to know who travels using fake ID.

After Milana's abduction on January 19, her mother Liubov Dubas applied to district police and security authorities, as well as to the district administration. However, she was not able to obtain any information about her daughter.

Liubov Dubas, Milana Ozdoeva's mother, describes her daughter's abduction:

"Service men in masks burst into our house at about 2 a.m. breaking open the door and the window. There were a lot of them, probably 15, and they all had firearms. The military beat my husband and brother-in-law. Setting guns against their napes, they made them get down on the floor. They next checked everyone's passports, save for Milana's. The service men told her, 'Come on, you're coming with us.' I tried to interfere: 'Don't take her away, you've been here many times, haven't you?' One of them answered: 'The military ordered us, we can't do anything.' Seeing they would not let her alone, we began to get ready to go with her. Our preparations were interrupted with the words: 'You aren't going anywhere, woman.' To Milana: 'You stop dressing the baby.' My daughter, getting the baby ready, answered: 'He is an infant, I have to feed him.' But the military took her away from the baby and out in the street. I asked them my last question: 'Where are you taking her?' They answered: 'We promise not a hair of her head will fall to the ground, we'll get her back before dinner.'

Unknown armed people abducted Gulzhana Abdulaeva, b. 1985, from 52 Tsentralnaia Usadba St. in Assinovskaia, Sunzha district, on January 22, 2004. Shortly before that the same night, the military had taken away from that house her father, Apani Saipievich Abdulaev, b. 1953 (a Dagestani). Apani Abdulaev works on Assinovskaia's collective farm as a dentist and dental mechanic.

Armed people in masks and camouflage uniforms broke in the Abdulaevs' flat and forced the host out in the street at about 1 a.m. Hearing cries, their neighbors tried to prevent this, but the military opened warning fire below the people's feet and above their heads. There were more than 10 military men coming by several vehicles, according to one eyewitness. They seated Apani in one of them, a grey UAZ.

The abducted man said afterwards they had brought him to a deserted orchard of the Assinovskii collective farm where another 30-40 military men were. Among them were both Chechens and Russians. They had Apani out in the orchard and started beating him. They tried to draw out of Abdulaev who was Wahhabi on the collective farm, taking special interest in a certain emir (Abdulaev did not memorize his surname). Abdulaev was not able to answer a single question because he did not know the Wahhabis or their emir. The answer did not satisfy the military men and they again started to kick Apani and beat him with the butts of their submachine guns. In a while, they brought Gulzhana here, too. Continuing to beat Abdulaev before his daughter's eyes, the military told him they would start beating her unless he said anything. Failing to stand the physical pressure, Apani lost consciousness. After that, the military went away leaving Abdulaev and his daughter in the orchard. Gulzhana says they did not beat her.

Published on February 11, 2004

Source: Memorial International Society

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