26 June 2020, 13:32
Rights defenders sceptical about counter-torture fight in Northern Caucasus
On the UN International Day in Support of Torture Victims, human rights defenders have noted the invariably difficult situation in Northern Caucasus as regards the readiness of local authorities to combat torture.
This year, there were fewer torture complaints received from the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and Southern Federal District (SFD) than in the past. But this has more to do with the epidemic than with any changes in the state policy, said Natalia Taubina, the director of the "Public Verdict" human rights foundation.
After victims of violence committed by law enforcers turn to rights defenders, the number of acts of torture in a given region goes down. But this is only temporary, Ms Taubina has noted. "Probably, court judgements may have a temporary effect in the form of a decrease in the volume of unlawful violence for fear of being imprisoned. But when there are no other systemic changes leading to the prevention of unlawful violence, this fear gradually disappears, and everything returns to its previous course," she said.
This year, the North-Caucasian branch of the Committee against Torture (CaT) received one third more torture complaints than in the past, Dmitry Piskunov, the branch head, has stated. "For the first half of 2019, there were 12 appeals, for the first half of this year – already 19: nine from residents of Chechnya; four from Kabardino-Balkaria, three from Dagestan and two from residents of the Stavropol Territory," Mr Piskunov told the "Caucasian Knot".
He is also sceptical of the situation with the fight against torture in Northern Caucasus. "Over the past few years, there was not a single conviction, despite the abundance of evidence," said the human rights defender.
According to his story, the worst situation is in Chechnya, where dozens of people are sometimes arrested, who are then brought to the Grozny branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), to the Akhmat Kadyrov regiment, or to Shali MIA branch. They may keep people there for two-three months. Not a single criminal case was opened on the facts of torture. "The only criminal case related to the actions of Chechen policemen was opened in Dagestan," Mr Piskunov has added.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 26, 2020 at 06:48 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.
Author: Semyon Charny, Emma Marzoeva; Source: CK correspondents