Lawyer Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev were again not allowed to see the detainees on Wednesday. Human rights defenders believe that they are being tortured in order to force them to refuse the assistance of a lawyer.
On August 18, lawyer Alexander Nemov unsuccessfully tried to get to his clients in SIZO-1 in the city of Grozny. The employees of the detention center did not show him any legal justification for his refusal to admit him, but they assured him that they would be able to let the lawyer into the pre-trial detention center on August 19, the press service of the Russian LGBT Network reports.
The organization intends to file a repeated complaint with the ECHR under Rule 39 on the adoption of urgent measures against Magamadov and Isaev.
As Aleksandr Nemov believes, “all employees of SIZO-1 were notified” of his arrival. “All the personnel on duty were waiting for me at the checkpoint. After I went upstairs to the administration and special account, I was met by the head of the medical unit. However, he and all the employees were summoned by the head of the pre-trial detention center. I was asked to wait. After about 10 minutes they came out and said that they could not let me through again, since both clients had fever, ”the lawyer explained.
In a personal conversation, the head of the medical unit did not give the lawyer the reasons why he was not allowed to see his clients.
“I believe that the employees of the pre-trial detention center have unforeseen situations and they are gaining time to eliminate them,” Nemov added. “It is possible that today they will“ work ”with Magamadov and Isaev so that they do not provide me with information about what happened or simply refuse the help of human rights defenders.”
On August 13, the court hearing in the case of Magamadov and Isaev did not take place, since the accused were not brought to court. The court clerk told the lawyer that he could not explain the reasons for the postponement, since the court was not notified of the upcoming session.
Last summer, Ismail Isaev and Salekh Magamadov, who at that time lived in Chechnya, contacted the hotline of the Russian LGBT Network. Isaev said that by that time Chechen security officials had already detained him twice. The first time this happened in August 2019 – in connection with his homosexuality. At that time, Isaev was 16 years old.
As follows from Isaev’s statement, he was beaten, held in an unknown place (the basement of one of the police departments) and released after 7 days. According to Isaev, his mother paid 300,000 rubles for his release. After that, he left Chechnya and lived in St. Petersburg.
Ismail Isaev and Salekh Magamadov, among others, were administrators of the Osal nakh 95 Telegram channel, which consisted of young people of 17-20 years old, positioning themselves as atheists. In the group, they sometimes criticized Islamic and Chechen traditions, calling for tolerance.
On March 30, 2020, a number of Osal nakh 95 participants were detained. Magamadov was detained in Grozny, and Isaev in St. Petersburg. Chechens in civilian clothes came to his place of residence, forcibly taken by plane to Vladikavkaz, and then by cars to Chechnya.
According to Isaev and Magamadov, they were placed in the cellars of one of the barracks at the base of the Kadyrov Patrol and Guards Regiment. During the abduction and transportation from St. Petersburg to Chechnya, Ismail Isaev got a fever. He was tested for coronavirus, placed in a separate cell in the basement and poured with alcohol all the time. In the following days, Isaev was not beaten or interrogated, he was occasionally measured and brought food. In addition, during his illness, he, along with other members of the Osal nakh 95 group, was forced to record a video apology for the fact that the members of the group insulted the religion and committed unworthy acts.
All members of the group (27 detainees) were forced under torture to admit the existence of God, as well as to memorize the Koran, the biography of Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov and the anthems of the Chechen Republic and the Russian Federation. The re-education, in addition to the torture itself, was filmed, very often a mullah came to the regiment and conducted religious classes with the group members. When bloggers made mistakes while reading the Koran, the mullah beat them with a thin stick. According to Isaev and Magamadov, he said that he was sending notes to the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, on whom the release of the detainees depended.
In early May 2020, when federal media wrote about the detention of members of the Osal nakh 95 group, Isaev and Magamadov, as part of the entire group of detainees, were released. However, before their release, they took a receipt with a commitment to cooperation. They had to continue to administer the group, involving and turning over other Chechen atheists to the police.
In early July 2020, Isaev and Magamadov left the Chechen Republic and turned to the Russian LGBT Network for help. They were hidden in Nizhniy Novgorod, but all this time the Chechen police officers tried to find them and force them to cooperate.
On February 6, Alexander Nemov said that his clients were taken to Chechnya and taken to the OMVD in Gudermes. Both were interrogated as witnesses in a case to which, according to the lawyer, they had nothing to do and on which they could not explain anything. The interrogation lasted literally five minutes, but the brothers continued to be held in the Gudermes OMVD, not giving them the opportunity to talk to their lawyer and their father.
After Nemov secured the release of his clients, they were detained by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Sernovodsky district of Chechnya at the exit from the Gudermes OMVD. They were handed a decree on the next compulsory admission in the case, which has now been instituted in the Sernovodsk OMVD and to which both have nothing to do. Both were detained as witnesses by the officers of the Sernovodsk Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and taken away in an unknown direction. And after a meeting with the deputy minister of the local Interior Ministry, the father of the detainees refused the services of Alexander Nemov to protect his sons.
Later youths told to their defenders Mark Alekseev and Alexander Nemov, that they were forced to abandon their lawyers. It is noted that at first Magamadov and Isaev did not agree, but later, under the threat of violence, they had to do this. “After my answer, the police officer took me to another office, grabbed my chest, hit me twice against the wall, I had to answer that I would sign an agreement with the appointed lawyer. Then the police officer explained to me: “If you try to resist us, then I am ready to kill you, even in the courtroom. I’m not a man if I don’t kill you, ”said Salekh Magamadov.
The brothers were charged with aiding terrorism. According to the Minister of Information and Press of Chechnya, the assistant to the head of the republic Akhmed Dudayev, Isaev and Magomadov, in the presence of their father, confessed that they were complicit in Rustam Borchashvili, who was a member of the terrorist group of Aslan Byutukayev. The last members of this group were killed by security forces in mid-January 2021.
Magamadov and Isaev, through the investigator, handed a note to their lawyer Mark Alekseev that they were considered accomplices of the terrorists, allegedly because they were handing over food to Rustam Borchashvili. Human rights activists noted that this note has no legal force, and the possibility that a criminal case against the Chechens was fabricated under torture cannot be ruled out.
The Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation of Chechnya promised to provide Magamadov and Isaev with state protection after their relatives began to receive threats. Unknown persons persuaded them to kill Magamadov and Isaev by committing “Honor killings”… The ECHR ordered Russia to take urgent measures under Rule 39.