25 March 2004, 17:48

Chronicle of violence in Chechnya, Dec '03

December 1, 2003

At 2.20 a.m., officers of an unknown federal law enforcement or security agency abducted two residents of Gikalovskii, Grozny rural district: Zelimkhan Khamidovich Bachaev, b. 1977, resident in Teplichnaia St.; and Omar Isaevich Demilkhanov, b. 1977, resident at 1, 6 Teplichnaia St.

The houses were surrounded by the military coming by four armored personnel carriers (APCs) and a UAZ and a Ural vehicles.

Zelimkhan and his wife Elita were woken up by hammering on the door. Then 5-6 armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms rushed in. They ordered the Bachaevs to get up and demanded their passports. Elita handed the documents to them, but it turned out Zelimkhan had his father's passport. The woman said the passports had been mixed up by chance, Zelimkhan's father lived in the house next door - she would go to him for her husband's passport. The military beat her, although they couldn't fail to see she was pregnant. They next entered the house where Zelimkhan's parents live, beat them, and took away their son's passport. Without letting Bachaev to get dressed, they had him out and in the armored Ural vehicle.

Omar Demilkhanov from the house next door was taken away along with Bachaev.

The abducted men's relatives saw the military column head for Starye Atagi. The people at once tried to apply for help to the commandant's office that was near their houses, but no one responded to their appeals. In a private conversation afterwards, officers of the commandant's office confessed they had seen the abduction, but received no order to interfere, while they can do nothing without an order.

On December 1 morning, the parents of the abducted men applied for the prosecutor's office and the Grozny rural district police department. Simultaneously, villagers blocked the highway between Grozny and Shatoi to draw authorities' attention. The picket was attended by the Grozny rural district prosecutor and republican deputy military commandant Ibrahim Suleimanov.

On December 2, the abducted men's relatives went to Grozny to the House of Government, but they didn't get in: an official came out to them and recommended that they apply to prosecution agencies.

On December 3, Gikalovskii residents came to the city and put up a picket near the government premises. Security officers tried to disperse the picketers, but failed - a Grozny TV reporter, Zulikhan, began to shoot the proceedings. She was detained and brought to the government premises, but released in a while, without the tape, though.

In a while, a government official who did not name himself came out to the people, but he was not able to say anything intelligible. At the same time, the picketers were able to talk to republican deputy military commandant Ibrahim Suleimanov. He promised in ten days to give a specific answer as to the destiny of the abducted men. After that the mothers of Bachaev and Demilkhanov were invited to the government premises.

The same day the abductors released Bachaev and Demilkhanov, both were heavily beaten. It turned out all that time they had been kept at a former mill on the outskirts of Starye Atagi where the village police department and a unit of internal affairs troops are based.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Urus-Martan district police officers detained Kati Isaevich Khadizov, b. 1975, resident in Mutsaev St., Goity, Urus-Martan district. He was released in a few hours. Kati had scarcely come home when law enforcement / security officers again came for them; they took him away towards Urus-Martan without introducing themselves or explaining anything.

He was released in 24 hours, on December 2, 2003. There is no knowing what agency and for what reason detained him, and where they kept him during the second detention. Local residents said they could see Kati was beaten. However, Kati himself does not speak about use of force against him while in detention.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 2, 2003

Early in the morning, Koltsov Street in Grozny's Staropromyslovskii district was surrounded by law enforcement / security officers coming along by an APC, a Ural and a UAZ vehicles. They stood in the street all day long without answering people's questions about the goal of the operation. Yet people noticed they paid special attention to the house in which Jokhar Dudaev's sister had lived formerly. The house is destroyed, and no one lives there presently, while Dudaev's sister lives in another place in Grozny. However, the military entered the yard and examined the ruins. They did this not too carefully, though. The military is also known to enter another house at 150 Koltsov St. where the Muradov family lives. The military asked the mistress who lived there and hearing the answer they left without explaining the reason for their visit, either.

There is no knowing why the military stood all day long in that street. They had dinner brought to them during the day. The people living in the street spent the whole day extremely strained.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Officers of an unknown law enforcement or security agency detained in the afternoon and abducted Magomed Adamovich Sultanov, b. 1979. The route 15 minibus he was coming home by was stopped for an examination not far from a check-point in Khankalskaia St.

Magomed's parents learnt about what had happened from a passenger of the minibus.

It became known later Chechnya's law enforcement and security agencies were conducting Operation Jamaat in a few settlements that day. Two more young men were detained the same way, according to some information; there is no knowing of their whereabouts, either.

Magomed's younger brother, Abubakar, was seriously wounded in a skirmish in Grozny's center two days before, on November 30. He is in custody, forcibly kept in hospital N2, Gudermes.

Magomed's detention was not the last shock for the Sultanovs. The same day when they did not yet knew about their elder son's detention, officers of an unknown law enforcement or security agency approached their house by a UAZ 452 with the license plate A 0107-95. Some of them blocked the district; several men entered the house and demanded that the Sultanovs' daughter, Petimat, say where her brothers Abubakar and Magomed were. Without getting a clear answer from the frightened girl, the military left the house. Simultaneously, all young men living in the neighborhood underwent an examination.

On December 3, 2003, the detainees' father, Adam Edilovich Sultanov, addressed the Human Rights Center Memorial with a request to provide assistance in searching for Magomed Sultanov.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Elsa Adievna Gaitamirova, b. 1973, resident at 31 Budenny St., Gekhi, Urus-Martan district, received a writ. It indicated she was to come to the Urus-Martan district police department on December 2, 2003. She went to Urus-Martan on December 2, 2003, but she did not come back home after that. Her mother, Rosa Khasanovna Gaitamirova, tried to find her daughter. Law enforcement / security officers do not deny Elsa is detained, but they refuse to say what she is charged with and where she is kept.

Rosa Gaitamirova:

"My daughter went to Urus-Martan on December 2, 2003, because the writ she had received indicated she was to come to the Urus-Martan district police department. She went by herself. Elsa did not come home either that or the next day.

I went for her to the police department 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 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.

My daughter has four children; she lived at my place because her husband, Rumid-Babek Khomadovich Isaev, b. 1969 in Kulary, has been missing since 2000. Besides, she is absolutely unwell. I don't know where to apply, what to do."

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 4, 2003

Officers of unknown Chechen law enforcement or security agencies beat a young man driving his car by the central market. The military said the young man ignored their order to stop. Then in the most crowded place in the city they opened fire on the wheels. When the car stopped, its wheels pierced, they dragged out the driver and beat him cruelly. The passers-by that tried to say a word for him heard threats in reply.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 5, 2003

A military column of four APCs and several Ural and UAZ vehicles entered Duba-Yurt, Shali district, at 3.50 a.m. The military surrounded the Bersanovs' house in Podgornaia St., broke in, and seized Said-Khusein Bersanov, b. 1978. His mother and grandmother dashed to him, so they beat them. The grandmother had it especially rough - she had her arm injured. Said-Khusein, handcuffed, was taken out, without being allowed to get dressed, put into a military vehicle, and brought away without the destination indicated.

Sultan Adamovich Khajimuradov, b. 1964, resident in Sheripov St., was taken away the same way. His relatives rushed after him, and they were able to notice the military vehicles passing a check-point near Chiri-Yurt and heading for Starye Atagi.

The next day, the relatives of Bersanov and Khajimuradov applied to the Shali district police authority, prosecutor's and commandant's offices.

On December 6, residents of Duba-Yurt blocked a road near Chiri-Yurt near the bridge across the Argun. A Shali district police chief, Sergei Ovchukov, came up to them. When asked by a Memorial officer if he could check the assumption that the detained people are kept by the military quartered near Starye Atagi, he answered he had no access to those premises. Ovchukov also explained check-point officers are not allowed to examine military vehicles and they cannot even check military men's ID sometimes.

The people decided to continue the picket and blocked the road on December 7 and 8.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

When examining polling stations for the Duma election in Assinovskaia as to whether they are mined, Sunzha district police found an explosive device in the school N3 yard. They sent for combat engineers from the commandant's office. All teachers and polling station workers were taken out the school; there were no children there because studies were suspended from December 4 until the elections were over. A careful examination led to establishing the device was made of a shell filled with small nails and bolts. The combat engineers were not able to neutralize the device and decided to detonate it on the spot. No one was hurt by the explosion. The terrorists were supposed to have aimed to detonate it on the voting day, December 7, when people were to come to the polling station.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Targeted special operations began in Sernovodsk at about 6 a.m.

Russian law enforcement / security officers were examining some houses, coming along by APCs and UAZ vehicles. The military drove along Mazaev St., Kutalov St., Bednyi St., Gorky St., and Bolnichnaia St. Some vehicles and an APC were also noticed in Sernovodsk's upper settlement.

No one was detained. The military were looking for house N30 in Kutalov St., owned by Shakhid Ibragimov. There, they asked for Aindi Ibragimov, Khas-Magomed Islamov's son-in-law, nicknamed Abdul-Sabur, who had previously been killed in a skirmish.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Said-Khusein Madievich Azarsanov, deputy mullah of Sernovodsk, was brought away from his own house in Sernovodsk by officers of the Internal Affairs Ministry's Operative Investigation Bureau 2 (OIB-2).

The OIB-2 officers came to the Sunzha district police department in the afternoon where their chief introduced himself and said his name was Arbi and he was from Urus-Martan. They next went to Kalinin St. where Azarsanov lives.

According to Azarsanov's wife, Sovdash, some armed people came to them by a few vehicles in the afternoon and asked where her husband was. She answered he was not in, he had gone to a burial in Grozny. The OIB-2 officers came back at about 5 p.m. This time Azarsanov was in, intending to pray. The comers' chief took him aside and began to talk to him. Sovdash heard a suggestion that her husband pray and go with them to the Sunzha district police department where they would ask him a few questions and let him go. She was going to come with him, but they told her there was no space in the vehicle. Then Sovdash quickly went after them on foot. She saw the vehicles pass the police department without entering, heading for the Rostov-Baku highway. She told all her relatives about what had happened.

The next day they began searching for Azarsanov at various law enforcement and security agencies and found out he was at the OIB.

Sernovodsk imam Mr. Gaev and several elders went to the Internal Affairs Ministry on December 7. They were allowed to deliver a parcel to Azarsanov and talk to him. He told them they treated him politely and promised to let him go after the elections. However, they didn't let him go in the second half of December, either. Most likely, Azarsanov was detained because he was the son-in-law of Arbi Baraev, the dead guerilla commander.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 6, 2003

A polling station at Sernovodsk's school N1 was fired at 11.10 p.m. They fired automatics from the direction of a park near the school for 2 minutes. The fire damaged the windows of the room where the polling station was. At the moment the station was guarded by police. No one was hurt.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 7, 2003

Two adolescents stepped on a mine and died in Prigorodnoe, Grozny rural district: Yanars Baudinovich Mutaliev, b. 1989, resident in Stroitelei St.; and Islam Rasulovich Khabuev, b. 1988, resident at 7 Pushkin St.

The two guys' parents had let them take a walk in about the afternoon. A powerful explosion resounded at about 3 p.m. not far from the village, in an area locals call Basi; no one paid much attention to it, though.

As the evening approached, the guys' relatives, worried about their long absence, went off in search of them. That night they were not able to find Yanars and Islam.

On December 8 villagers found the bodies of the missing boys in the place where the explosion thundered yesterday. The guys stepped on a mine on the edge of an area federal forces had mined at the beginning of the second Chechen war using combat aircraft. This place is quite far away from the Grozny-Prigorodnoe highway, so it is senseless to plant mines there.

No security measures were taken after this area had been mined, i.e. approaches to this place for civilians were not fenced or marked with special signs.

Prigorodnoe residents' farm animals had more than once stepped on mines in the area. Thus, 32 cows once wandered off and died there. As a result, villagers have actually no pasture left.

The mined area also adjoins Grozny's Oktiabrskii district. Here, too, there have been cases of people and animals dying.

Local residents had more than once addressed authorities with a request to fence the mined area, but their complaints and addresses have been ignored.

The dead guys' relatives together with the police officer responsible for the neighborhood applied to the military quartered near the village for help in providing a safe passage to the bodies. However, the military said they had to apply to the Grozny rural district commandant's office for that, and refused to take any part in this matter.

Seeing that no help would come from the military, the guys' relatives accompanied by the police officer got to the place at their own risk and took away their children' bodies. Yanars and Islam were buried at the village cemetery after a local investigation group called from law enforcement agencies had conducted the required investigative actions.

A number of news agencies reported on December 11 that two teenagers from Prigorodnoe died when planting an explosive device. Thus, Novosti news agency said:

Two adolescents of 12 and 14 died when planting a homemade explosive device. This is what the Regional Operative Headquarters (ROH) for the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus told us.

A ROH representative said gunmen from Dadaev's gang had delivered the bomb for the guys to commit a terrorist act. "The gangsters demanded that the kids plant the 'hell's machine' at the Grozny-Prigorodnoe road."

He said federal military men discovered the bodies while examining the area. They were identified as Islam Abuev and Yuvadi Mutaliev, resident in Prigorodnoe, Grozny district.

"Legal action has been taken on the guys' death, and the gangsters recruiting kids to commit terrorist acts are wanted," our interlocutor said.

The dead guys' relatives are indignant at this overt lie by Russian news agencies.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

At night, not far from the Gudermes electoral commission for Duma elections, unknown people killed a local resident, Yunus Yakubov, who represented the United Russia Party as an observer. He was shot dead on his way home.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 8, 2003

A targeted special operation was conducted in Gekhi-Chu, Urus-Martan district. The operation involved 5-6 military vehicles, including some APCs, according to the Gekhi-Chu head of administration. Some of the law enforcement / security officers coming to the village wore masks. The village was not blocked, and people could leave it freely.

The examination was mostly conducted in Shkolnaia and Zarechnaia streets. Some law enforcement / security officers examined deserted houses, but they also conducted unauthorized searches in some living houses. In doing so, they did not name themselves, although they treated people politely.

The Gekhi-Chu head of administration:

"I set out for Urus-Martan to take part in a meeting of heads of administration from the district on December 8 morning, and I met a column of several armored vehicles moving towards Gekhi. I didn't think they were going to our village. I didn't even pay much attention to this movement. So it was later, when I was coming back from the district center, when I learnt a "clean-up" had been conducted in Gekhi-Chu. The examination was said to lead to uncovering a grenade-launcher and some ammo in one of the deserted houses. But who knows, perhaps, the military put these arms there by themselves, at least to make a report and justify their actions?"

The Gekhi-Chu head of administration believes the military that conducted the special operation rudely violated the procedure for conducting such operations, because in taking measures of this kind the military is obliged to inform the head of administration in the first place and act in coordination with him.

The special operation lasted a few hours. No one was detained in the village.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Officers of a Chechen law enforcement / security agency in the evening committed an armed attack on a temporary accommodation point (TAP) for internally displaced persons at 47 Kirov St., Leninskii district, Grozny.

Three UAZ vehicles and several VAZ-21099 vehicles pulled over at the TAP at about 7 p.m. A large group of law enforcement / security officers in masks got out the vehicles and headed for the TAP entry. They disarmed the guards at the entry: the two guards had one handgun and a two-way radio - no automatics have been given to guards of this TAP after a series of attacks on TAPs carried out in Grozny to gain arms.

The armed people next beat the guards and went to the second story dealing blows on everyone they ran across. There, at gunpoint, they made TAP tenants squat, hands on the head. The military beat those who did not do so at once with rifle butts and knocked them over. These actions went along with rude maledictions in Russian.

The armed people did not explain the goal of their visit to anyone, nor said what agency they belonged to.

The military took control of the entire building beating everyone they ran across without making any difference between men, women, and children.

Here are some examples:

Ahmed Saluev, 40. At gunpoint, the military put him down and beat him for trying to bring round a 60-year-old woman that fainted for fear.

Said-Magomed Chibiliaev, about 60. He got a strong blow with the butt of a submachine gun on his shoulder for a refusal to get down on the floor.

Khava Takaeva, 22. The military struck her on the face when she went out of her room hearing some noise in the TAP. Then, they made her go back into her room poking at her with the barrel of a submachine gun.

Breaking open the door to the room where the Dakaev family lives, the military forced Ahmed Dakaev out asking no questions and dragged him to a group of people. His sisters, Louise, 18, and Elina, 15, tried to find out what was the matter, but the military struck them on the face several times and then pushed them back into the room beating them with submachine gun butts.

Zargan Mutaeva, b. 1961, was struck on her face when she gave Ahmed Dakaev his passport for the possible examination.

Imani Visaitova, 12, who happened to be in a corridor on the third story wanted to run into her room when strange people in masks appeared, but when she approached the military one of them struck her on her face with his hand and poked her at the side with the barrel of his submachine gun with such force that she hit the wall. The girl was shocked for a long time.

In a while, a TAP manager responsible for registration of tenants came out to see what was going on. The military ordered her rudely to get down on the floor, but she refused to fulfill their order, resolutely. Moreover, she said: "I can see it in your eyes that you're Chechen." After that, in a more polite form, the military ordered her to enter a room.

Soon, without trying to conceal that they were Chechens any longer, the armed people began to leave the TAP. No one was detained among the tenants. The guards were given back the handgun and ordered to stay where they were.

Chechnya's official government did not respond to the event in any way. The victims, TAP tenants, said no one came to them either from law enforcement agencies or television or the presidential administration: the incident was simply hushed up.

The TAP tenants wrote two applications - one to President Akhmat Kadyrov and another to Mr. Klintsevich, a United Russia Party leader - demanding protection from unauthorized abusive actions of law enforcement and security agencies. However, there has been no response to these applications.

It should be noted this is not the first armed attack on this TAP. Thus, it was surrounded by armored vehicles and a great number of military men coming from the base in Khankala on the night of May 26, 2003. The military broke into rooms and grabbed young people turning up. They wanted to take away those they captured, including a few girls. Luckily, some Chechen special force officers were spending that night at their relative's apartment, and they interfered in the proceedings. Seeing that they would not be able to take away those they captured freely, the military men were forced to let them all go.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 9, 2003

A "clean-up" was conducted in Samashki, Achkhoi-Martan district, that resulted in Anzor Khasanovich Avdiev, b. 1978, a member of the armed units of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), dying.

A column of armored vehicles entered the settlement at about 9 a.m. from the direction of the district center, Achkhoi-Martan, according to local residents. The military first blocked the warehouse of the Samashki Cannery and then fired submachine and machine guns and grenade launchers at it.

Some APCs and combat infantry vehicles keeping firing drove out in the field separating Samashki's southern outskirts from the forest. The military thereby prevented the guerillas supposed to be hiding in the village from escaping. The remaining vehicles went to the central part of the village and blocked the houses in Kirov, Kalinin, Proletarskaia, and Vostochnaia streets.

The military first of all blocked the houses of relatives of CRI armed units members, but they were not able to find anyone save Anzor Avdiev.

Thus, the military blocked Zargan Susarova's house in Vostochnaia St. Having not found her son in, they started looting. Thus, the military found and took away USD400. Before, they broke the furniture, ripped open the beds, tore carpets off the walls, and destroyed the roof. The military also beat young men from Said-Magomed Mazuev's family living near the Susarovs.

The main events occurred on Samashki's southern outskirts. The Russian military searched at least two houses in the blocked district between Kalinin St. and Kirov St. A pogrom was carried out in the house in Kalinin St. owned by one of the oldest workers for the local cannery, Zakhar Katsaev: they tore carpets off the walls, rummaged through and shook out the contents of all furniture, tore apart bed clothes, and broke the beds. The military packed the assets that were more valuable such as new bed sheets, blankets, and cosmetics and had them out to take away with them after the "clean-up."

Seeing the pogrom, Maret Katsaeva, the host's elder daughter-in-law (the wife of his elder son Zelimkhan and mother of the wanted young man) felt bad. The military agreed to let local hospital staff to her. Thanks to their efforts, the woman whose blood pressure was up seriously remained alive (although she was not able to speak for several more days).

Not far from Zakhar Katsaev's house, in the field on Samashki's southern outskirts, the military seized several men and fired at another one, fishing.

Among those detained was a tractor operator, Said-Emin Amadievich Mulkaev, and some Lechi who rode the tractor together with him. All we know about the latter is that he is deaf and that he had invited the tractor operator that day to plough up the plot of land allocated to him for a kitchen garden.

Having noticed the approaching APC, Said-Emin Mulkaev did not stop work supposing the military men would think they were afraid, so guilty of something. However, those came up to them all the same. The military fired a submachine gun above the tractor and made Mulkaev stop. They next opened the door and pulled Lechi out. Said-Emin was not able to get out at once because the door on his side had no handle. The military men were therefore already irritated when he got out and at once started beating him, striking him on the face, and made him get down by kicking him. When in a while he raised his head, he saw three military men heading for the APCs with three other young men at gunpoint. Thinking they would later be taken away without the destination indicated as is often the case, he and Lechi dashed after them demanding that the captives be allowed to go.

The operator's shouts drew local residents' attention, and they dashed to help the detainees. Nurdi Dibaevich Magomadov who lived on Samashki's outskirts and his children were among the first to arrive at the detention place. Noticing them, the military men let the detained people go and went to the APCs. In one of them, as was found out later, Khavazhi Misarovich Magomadov was kept. The military had not captured him on the outskirts of the village, but near his house in Kirov St. After his release, Khavazhi said he had heard somebody inside the APC communicating via the radio that some one "big" was wounded in the village, but he was a "great guy - gunned down a Czech" [Czech is military slang for Chechen - trans.] Apparently, it was about the skirmish that led to killing Anzor Avdiev.

Avdiev also lived in Kirov St., in a house looking through kitchen gardens on Zakhar Katsaev's house. His mother, sisters, and brother lived with him. At the beginning of the second Chechen war, Anzor took part in operations against the Russian army but he afterwards withdrew from active participation in the resistance. He did not venture to spend nights at home. He came to his mother only during the day, and went away in the evening.

When on December 9 the military blocked the living area between Kirov and Kalinin streets, Anzor Avdiev just happened to be at home. Seeing the Russian military coming in the yard, he went to his kitchen garden from where he tried to get out to the adjoining street. However, the exit there was already blocked, too.

Local residents watching the developments nonetheless believe the young man could have broken through their blockade. However, Anzor Avdiev had obviously already made another decision.

Hiding behind a toilet, he stood there for a long time examining the street and the crowd that gathered there; then he turned back to his home. One version has it a neighbor called him and asked not to go there. Yet the young man, looking back, told her in Chechen: "They (i.e. the military) have not come to let me escape." (Literally so: "So davakhiita tsa ba'khkina u'sh.")

The villagers are inclined to explain this act of Anzor Avdiev with that he didn't want to break through along the street where local residents stood.

The military saw Avdiev and opened fire. Then he tried to hide in a shed and next, knocking out a wall board, tried to run away in the opposite direction, firing back. He was wounded, and crawled on still firing, wounding one service man. Apparently out of his ammo, Avdiev exploded himself with a "pineapple."

The military made Avdiev's mother come up to his body and demanded that she confirm him, otherwise threatening to take the body with them. They next also had there Kulsum Magomadova, chief medical officer at the local hospital, and she confirmed the dead young man once again.

As the evening drew closer, the military let all the detainees go and left the village. Only after that Avdiev's relatives were able to take his body home and begin the funeral ceremony.

Avdiev's burial was attended by more people in the village than many others over the past years.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Unknown armed people in masks and camouflage uniforms abducted during the day Nurdi Elmurzaev, head of administration in Alkhan-Kala, Grozny rural district. The strangers stopped Elmurzaev driving his car on the village outskirts; they made him get in their vehicle after which they left. The village head's Zhiguli vehicle was later found on the Alkhan-Kala - Grozny road.

In the morning on December 15, several dozen residents of Alkhan-Kala set out to the Chechen government with a demand that urgent measures be taken to find Elmurzaev. Movsar Khamidov, in charge of law enforcement and security agencies, assured the people that Elmurzaev's whereabouts were established and that he was alive and would be released in several hours. Believing the promise, the calmed people went to Alkhan-Kala. In the evening, news came in that Elmurzaev was found dead. Villagers say there were traces of torture, including with electric current, on the body.

Nurdi Elmurzaev has been the fifth head of administration in Alkhan-Kala killed since the beginning of the second Chechen war. Killed before him were: Yevgenia Pavlovna Satina, Yusha Abdurakhmanovich Tsuev, Ramzan Edilbekovich Gasaev, Malika Abumuslimovna Umazheva.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

At about 8 p.m., unknown armed people abducted Bislan Akhmudovich Idrisov, b. 1976, resident at 30 Sportivnaia St., Urus-Martan.

Armed people in camouflage uniforms and masks, most likely officers of some law enforcement or security agency, coming along by a UAZ-452 vehicle without a license plate, broke in the house were Idrisov lives and took him away without any explanations.

Idrisov's relatives at once launched an active search for him. In the morning, they applied for Urus-Martan district law enforcement / security agencies and the administration. However, they refused there to admit their people's involvement in the detention.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

An UAZ-452 vehicle with Gudermes district police officers was fired at 9.10 p.m. at the exit from Grozny towards Gudermes 100 m away from the check-point near Khankala. The police force was escorting VAZ vehicles with Gudermes local electoral commission workers going back from the Central Electoral Commission. The fire led to Alikhan Visimbaev, 23, a Gudermes district police officer, dying; another officer wounded in his leg.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 10, 2003

Two vehicles approached the Sugaipovs' house in Zapadnaia St., Kurchaloi, at 6.00-7.00 a.m.: a UAZ and a Niva with armed people in camouflage uniforms. Without naming themselves or showing any ID, they broke in the house where the family of Khavazhi Khozh-Akhmedovich Sugaipov, 32, was. The strangers conducted an unauthorized search, turned all things over, beat Khavazhi, then grabbed him and took away without the destination indicated.

The strangers wore no masks and obviously belonged to Russian law enforcement / security agencies, according to eyewitnesses. There is no knowing of the reason for the detention.

Khavazhi with his family lived in Nazran as a forced migrant from the beginning of the war. He returned home in the summer of 2003. No one ever saw Khavazhi carry arms, and he had no contacts to armed formations.

In the evening of the same day, Khavazhi was released with the assistance of Idris Gaibov, Kurchaloi district head of administration. He was badly beaten.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 11, 2003

Ilez Ozdarbievich Saidarov, b. 1961, and Vakhid Nasrudinovich Teshtiev, b. 1955, heads of administration in respectively Dargo and Belgatoi, illegally captured on November 29, 2003, in Zandak, Nozhai-Yurt district, by officers of the special battalion Vostok, office of the military commandant, Russian Defense Ministry ("Yamadaevites"), were released. With black plastic bags on their heads, they were thrown out on a road not far from Gudermes. While in detention, Saidarov and Teshtiev were subject to beating, according to Dargo residents. It was demanded that they sign a confession that they were gunmen's accomplices.

The victims do not want to speak about what happened to them.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 12, 2003

Umar Jabrailov, b. 1953, resident in Shaami-Yurt, Achkhoi-Martan district, was abducted from his own house at about 3 a.m.

Eyewitnesses said three armed people in masks broke in the house. They broke the lamps in the yard, hallway, and the foyer by shooting handguns. They next grabbed Jabrailov who was asleep in his room and took him with them, bare-footed and undressed. Neither his relatives nor neighbors heard any vehicles. Villagers say three APCs were noticed on Thursday evening on the southern outskirts of the village, so Jabrailov was most likely taken to the outskirts on foot, then put in an APC and brought away.

Villagers say Umar Jabrailov had formerly worked as chief agronomist and then director of the state farm Ovoshchevod ("Vegetable Farmer"), right up to the second Chechen war. He never took part in any formations. He had a serious heart disease. Jabrailov recently came home after a regular treatment course and was to leave again soon, according to his neighbors.

Two days later, the abducted man's relatives applied to the Achkhoi-Martan district police department and Federal Security Service (FSB) department, but the agencies told them they were not involved in this abduction. The same day they applied to Chechnya's Internal Affairs Ministry, but this one, too, answered them they had no information on the abduction.

All residents of Shaami-Yurt, Khambi-irze, and Valerik, Achkhoi-Martan district, took part in a meeting on December 12 and 13, using placards reading "Give Umar Jabrailov back to us" and blocking the federal highway Kavkaz near Shaami-Yurt.

A deputy internal affairs minister of Chechnya, the Achkhoi-Martan district head of administration, and the chiefs of the district police and security departments met with the demonstrators on December 13 asking them to lift the blockade and promising they would find Jabrailov.

Akhmat Kadyrov's son Ramzan came to the meeting on December 13 evening and promised to do his best to find Umar Jabrailov and give any definite answer by December 14 midday.

None of the officials came to the meeting on the highway on December 14, so the picketers blocked it again.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Between 3.00 and 4.00 a.m. Russian law enforcement / security officers brought away Khavazhi Umarkhajievich Shamaev (b. c. 1970) from Samashki, Achkhoi-Martan district.

There is information the abductors came by APCs from the direction of the district center, Achkhoi-Martan.

There is no knowing about the motives for the detention. Shamaev had never taken part in war, and he had lived in Russia outside Chechnya during both Chechen wars. He came back to his homeland just a few months ago and lived in his house at 3 Kirov St.

There is no knowing of Shamaev's whereabouts.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Someone was firing automatics and a grenade launcher at the Sunzha district police department in Sernovodsk for ten minutes at 9.35 p.m. The officers on duty at the department opened random response fire using submachine and machine guns. No one was wounded, the department building suffered insignificant damage.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

At about 10 p.m., 11-12 armed people in masks and camouflage uniforms, presumably officers of an Urus-Martan district law enforcement / security agency, broke in the house of the Tsukhaevs resident in Goi-Chu (Komsomolskoe), Urus-Martan district. The military came by a UAZ-452 vehicle without a license plate.

Without introducing themselves or explaining anything, acting extremely rudely and aggressively, they brought away the Tsukhaev brothers: Nur-Ali Alkhazurovich, b. 1985, and Lom-Ali Alkhazurovich, b. 1986. The brothers were released in several hours.

Alkhazur Tsukhaev, the detainees' father:

"It was about 10 p.m., December 12. I was watching TV when they broke in. They were about 10 in masks. They all were tall and robust. When they were breaking in, one could think they came to conduct an operation to catch an odious gangster. They did not explain anything to me, nor even said who and from where they were, let alone other violations of the law. I asked them: 'What's up? Who are you? I know you are Chechens.' But they answered me only in Russian, and no one answered my specific questions. Without any explanations, the military grabbed both of my sons, schoolboys, and dragged them out. A UAZ vehicle was waiting for them about 50 m away from our house. They put my sons in the vehicle and were off towards Urus-Martan. The military did not conduct a search in the house, they stayed here no longer than 10 minutes. The same night, I came to my brother-in-law, woke him up, explained to him what had happened, and we took his car to go to Urus-Martan. However, I didn't find my sons there. It was past midnight already, so my brother-in-law and I put up at our relatives' in the district center. We came home at about 5 or 6 a.m. Both my sons were home by that time. It turned out they had not been brought to Urus-Martan at all. Somewhere on the town outskirts they were made to get out and methods were used to them on the spot a lot of Chechnya's residents know about from their own experience.

They both, bare-footed and naked to the waist, were made to get into freezing water where they were kept for a few hours and beaten. They were asked about Bislan Almurzaev. In a few hours, Lom-Ali and Nur-Ali were brought to a fork in the road connecting Urus-Martan, Alkhazurovo, and Goi-Chu where they got off. They were told: 'Go jogging along, or you will catch cold.' What a manifestation of mercy, isn't it?

Everyone knows Almurzaev was killed during a special operation federal forces conducted in Goi-Chu. Some relevant agencies checked and specified this information after that, and only then the district authorities allowed his relatives to conduct the funeral ceremony.

I can't see the relation between my sons and dead Almurzaev. Somehow or other, I believe it would have been enough to send a writ, as required by the law, if the law enforcement and security agencies had some questions to my sons. They would have come instantly to the agencies.

I work at the village administration and I am somehow aware and know the laws. I know that no one has yet abolished procedural norms in Russia, which is unlikely to occur one day. The law applies everywhere and to everyone, including law enforcement and security officers.

The next morning, my sons and I went to Urus-Martan. However, no one from the official law enforcement and security agencies admitted the fact of intrusion into my house and illegal detention of my sons that night. I told them: 'Here are they, my sons. If they are guilty of anything, put them in prison right away.'

The media has lately often reported unsubstantiated assertions by all sorts of government officials about the legality of actions of law enforcement and security agencies with respect to civilians. However, everything is different in reality, I've made sure."

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 13, 2003

Asiat Makhmaeva, b. 1996, resident at 8 Gagarin St., Naurskaia, was delivered to Grozny's hospital N9 with mine explosion injuries (avulsion of both hands, an injury of the left eyeball, multiple missile wounds in soft tissues of the face and chest).

Asiat's mother says the tragedy was caused by the explosion of a lighter the girl found in the street.

Malkan Makhmaeva, b. 1977, the girl's mother:

"In the morning, Asiat with her small younger sister Aishat, 2.5, went into the street for a walk.

At 11 a.m. or so, I had them home to have a meal. I wanted to warm up the food. So I see there are no matches (the kids always filch them from the gas stove), and I couldn't keep from saying: 'You'll never find matches in the house.' In reply, Asiat cries to me from the next room: 'Mum, I'll bring you a lighter, I've found it in the street.' As soon as she told me this, an explosion thundered. Running into the room, I saw Asiat, she was all over in blood. At that moment, my brother ran in (he was in the yard). He grabbed Asiat and tried not to let me come closer, but I saw she had no hands and left eye. We brought her to the district hospital, then to the 9th hospital in Grozny... The doctors at the district hospital where they helped Asiat said this was the third case in the district when people picked up a lighter in the street that exploded when they tried to light it up."

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

A special passport check operation was conducted from 6 a.m. in the 35th and 56th sectors in the Oktiabrskii district, Grozny (the settlements are situated nearby on the outskirts); it involved Russian law enforcement and security officers and local police officers, as well as APCs and Ural and UAZ vehicles.

The military had blocked the settlements from 2 a.m., according to local residents. Some police officers involved in the "clean-up" also confirmed this information to residents of the settlements.

House-to-house checks in the settlements began at about 6 p.m. The military men examining houses and ID did not name themselves and entered houses without being invited by the hosts or showing their ID. A lot of them wore masks.

About 9 people were detained in the operation, mostly those not registered in the city. They all were delivered to the Oktiabrskii district police department. The detained men underwent a definite procedure (taking of their pictures and finger-prints) and were released at about 3 p.m.

Two of them, brothers Alik Bachiev, b. 1970, and Igor Bachiev, b. 1971, received their passports in two days, after the weekend. Police did not explain the reason for the delay. The brothers had come to the 56th section from Itum-Kali. They had brought some things to their sister who lives here and spent a night at her place.

Some detainees' relatives mentioned those had signed some documents while released, but they didn't know what kind of documents.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 14, 2003

Russian law enforcement / security officers conducted a targeted special operation in Gekhi, Urus-Martan district.

The military in masks and camouflage uniforms came by a UAZ-452 vehicle without a license plate. They conducted unauthorized searches in the houses of Valid Batukaev (Kavkazskaia St.), Nura and Pada Eskerkhanov (Gvardeiskaia St.) and Aset Shakhtamirova (Gvardeiskaia St.). In doing so, they did not tell the people what agency they belonged to and what was the reason for their actions. After a careful examination of the houses and back rooms, the military were off.

On the night of December 15, at about 2 a.m., the military again broke in Aset Shakhtamirova's house. Four people were in at the moment: two children and two young girls. The law enforcement / security officers were in masks and camouflage uniforms, armed with automatics. They came by several UAZ vehicles, according to the Shakhtamirovs' neighbors.

Like in the morning, the military conducted an unauthorized search, acting rudely and without observing procedural legislation and grounds for a search. Like before, the military demanded that the Shakhtamirovs tell them of the whereabouts of the men. One woman said they had no men at all - the family's only man, their father, had died. However, the military were not content with this answer. The search continued. The military were off an hour later. It turned out they had taken away 1,000 rubles, a disabled child's pension.

One of the Shakhtamirovs' neighbors says the family is badly frightened by the event, so they are not going to lodge complaints of the military men's actions with any authorities because they believe their condition can only become worse thereby.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Said-Khusein Musaevich Bersanov, b. 1978, resident in Predgornaia St., Duba-Yurt, and Sultan Adamovich Khajimuradov, b. 1964, resident in Sheripov St., Duba-Yurt, were thrown out in Mesker-Yurt, Shali district, on the Grozny-Shali road.

They had been abducted on December 5 at about 4 a.m. by Russian law enforcement / security officers.

Both abducted men underwent cruel beating and torture in an unknown place. The victims are afraid to speak about what happened to them, their relatives say.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Grenade launchers were fired in Sernovodsk at the Sunzha district police department at 8.15 p.m. The building was not damaged. Some relays of the Sunzha automatic telephone exchange also came under fire. Two relays' dish aerials were damaged.

The same night the Sunzha district public education department burnt down in Nagi Asuev St. in the center of the village.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 16, 2003

Some military men in masks and camouflage uniforms abducted after midnight Rizvan Movladievich Oibuev from his own house in Starye Atagi, Grozny rural district.

The military approached Oibuev's house by an APC; they talked Russian without an accent.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Some military men abducted Khasan Iskhazhievich Chalaev, b. 1974, resident at 2 Komsomolskaia St., Berkat-Yurt.

The military came by two APCs, a Ural and a UAZ vehicles. Surrounding the Chalaevs' yard, they drove out the gate using an APC and entered the yard illuminating the house with searchlights.

At the same time, the military brought down the gates of the Taimuskhanovs living the Chalaevs' neighborhood at 4 Komsomolskaia St. Hearing the noise, the family rushed out of the house, but they were told to go back in the house and stay there under threat of arms.

In the Chalaevs' yard, the military in the first place broke in the house of Khasan Chalaev's parents where the following people were at the moment: Iskhazhi Chalaev (father), b. 1920, Zainap Chalaeva (mother), b. 1936, Yasita, b. 1963, and Rakh'mat (sisters). Failing to find Khasan there, the military went out in the yard and headed towards the house where Khasan's family live. Iskhazhi Chalaev ran after them. Seeing the old man, one military man struck him on the head with the butt of his submachine gun. Iskhazhi lost consciousness and fell on the ground. Without explaining the reasons, the military dragged Khasan Chalaev out of the house and drove out his wife, Aset Leidovna Aitemirova, b. 1978, and children: Tanzilla, b. 2000, and Amir-Khan, b. 2003. They next set fire to several smoke bombs in the house. Taking Khasan with them, the military left without indicating the destination.

The house at this moment began to take fire. Fortunately, they managed to put it out with the neighbors' help, but the assets inside the house burnt out completely.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

Coming by two VAZ-21099 vehicles at 4 p.m., officers of a Chechen law enforcement / security agency stopped Kazbek Sheikh-Magomedovich Saidaliev in Derbentskaia St. and ordered him to get in the vehicle. The young man refused to obey the order, but they put him in by force and carried away, according to eyewitnesses.

Kazbek Saidaliev is a native of Regity, Kurchaloi district, currently resident in Chapaev St., Gudermes. Information on his exact whereabouts is unavailable.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 17, 2003

Unknown armed people in uniforms at about 10 p.m. abducted from Grozny Nadir Alikhanovich Kuriev, b. 1983, a fifth-year student at the university, resident at 61, 14 Tukhachevskii St.; and his friend Timur resident in 28 Tukhachevskii St.

The abduction occurred the moment the young men went out a computer game hall not far from their houses. People from the neighborhood saw the abductors coming by a VAZ-21099 vehicle.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

A group of about 150 blocked the way to the government premises in Grozny. These mostly were residents of Dargo, Vedeno district, relatives of Kh.A. Baitimaev, b. 1959, resident in Gudermes, detained by Russian law enforcement / security officers in Dargo on November 11, 2003. The meeting put up a placard reading "Give our man back to us." The picketers were joined by some residents of Berkat-Yurt, relatives of Khasan Chalaev abducted on the night of November 16.

On this day, Baitimaev's wife and sister were invited to meet with Akhmat Kadyrov who in their presence called Baranov, commander of the United Group of Troops (Forces), and asked him to look into the matter. The people picketing the approach to the government premises were told the Gudermes city administration would inform Baitimaev's relatives about results of his search. The picketers lifted the blockade and went home after that statement.

Residents of Dargo and Belgatoi had already arranged a protest meeting at the government premises on December 5 and 6, demanding that authorities interfere in the situation and set fee detained Baitimaev and the Dargo and Belgatoi heads of administration detained on November 29. No government representative that time came out to the meeting that was dispersed under threat of arms.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 21, 2003

Computer facilities were stolen from Memorial's legal advice office in Sernovodsk, Sunzha district, on the night of December 21.

Memorial's legal advice office is quartered at the agricultural technical school (the building and premises currently serve as a basis for temporary accommodation of internally displaced people).

The Achkhoi-Martan inter-district prosecutor's office took legal action on this fact, case N KUP-103 of December 23, 2003.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 29, 2003

Coming by an armored Ural vehicle and several UAZ-452 vehicles without license plates, a group of 40 to 50 military men in masks and without badges of rank blocked the center of Sernovodsk, Sunzha district, at about 9.30 p.m.

All the young men that happened to be in the street this time were detained, driven into a former food store (presently a computer game hall) where some visitors were at the moment. The military made everyone, including those who were in the street and in the hall (about 30 people 10 to 40 years old), pull up their coats on their heads and get down on the floor, faces on the ground.

Having frisked everybody, the military started an ID examination. Those who raised their heads or moved were kicked and beaten with submachine gun butts. Local residents began to gather near the computer game hall, including parents of the guys that had been in the hall. The submachine gunners that surrounded the hall did not let any one of the parents in, firing above the people's heads.

A detained boy's father, Vakha Gaisultanov, then went to the Sunzha district police department for help. No police officer went to the place, though. The police said they knew about the operation under way, but they could not interfere because federal agencies do not submit to them.

Meanwhile, the military conducting the "clean-up" let everyone go after a careful ID check, interrogations and beatings. According to the young men, the military asked practically the same questions to each of them: they asked if they knew Wahhabis, who sold drugs, and who fired on selling stalls and drugstores.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 30, 2003

Five computers and for displays were stolen from secondary school N1 in Sernovodsk, Sunzha district, on the night of December 30.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 31, 2003

Two unknown armed people in masks broke in the house of the Sultanov couple (Georgii Ramazanovich and Svetlana Ivanovna) in Sernovodsk, Sunzha district, at about 8 p.m.

They beat the couple and their younger daughter Marina, 13, took 2,000 rubles, then tied up everyone and went away. The Sultanovs' neighbor found them calling on to wish them happy New Year. He called some neighbors and reported the event to police. The neighbors called in an ambulance, and the doctors gave the victims first aid.

The Sultanovs have taught at the Sernovodsk agricultural technical school for more than 30 years. This is already the second assault on Sernovodsk school teachers over the past two months. An assault had previously been carried out on physical education instructor Valentina Vasilievna Shelest.

Information by Memorial's office in Nazran, Ingushetia

December 2003

Source: Memorial Human Rights Center (Moscow, Russia)

All news

December 12, 2019 17:34

  • Chechen officials neglect US sanctions

    Ruslan Alkhanov, Chechen Minister of Internal Affairs, invited the United States to include all Chechen policemen in the US sanctions list. The Chechen Minister's proposal demonstrates his allegiance to Ramzan Kadyrov, who is also under the US sanctions, local residents suggest. Instagram users ironically commented on the sanctions imposed by the US Department of State.

December 12, 2019 17:26

December 12, 2019 17:09

December 12, 2019 11:33

December 12, 2019 11:29

  • Rights defenders analyze background of the First Chechen War

    The first military campaign in Chechnya had been brewing since 1990, and was carried out without any account of expert estimates; launching a war machine in its worst form cost tens of thousands of human lives, analysts have concluded on the 25th anniversary of the advent of federal troops into Chechnya.

News archive