New details of the mass extrajudicial execution of 27 residents of Chechnya. Investigation by Elena Milashina

Special Projects Editor

Photo: Barracks No. 6 of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service in Grozny. In the basement of this barracks, detained Chechens were killed without trial. Picture from “Grozny TV”.
Photo: Barracks No. 6 of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service in Grozny. In the basement of this barracks, detained Chechens were killed without trial. Picture from “Grozny TV”.

In July 2017, Novaya Gazeta published a list of 27 residents of Chechnya who were detained on suspicion of participating in illegal armed groups. All these people, according to our data, became victims of a mass extrajudicial execution.

One of the most substantial evidence with which Novaya Gazeta operated was two documents received from a source in the Chechen Department of the Federal Security Service. The first document was a chart with photographs and data (names, surnames and operational information) of Chechen residents who took part in the attack on a police officer in Grozny in December 2016, and were detained shortly after the attack. The 12 people indicated in this scheme appear on the “hit list” of the Novaya Gazeta.

The second document was a police summary table with photographs and data of 67 people detained in early January 2017 during police raids in the Kurchaloyevsky and Shali districts of Chechnya. The 14 persons listed in the table are also listed in the “hit list”. Another person from the list does not appear either in the chart or in the table. The persons of this “hit list” were executed on the night of January 26 on the territory of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service.

Fragment of the list of 67 residents of Chechnya detained in December 2016 and January 2017

28. Abazov Beslan Supyanovich, 15.08.1993, Shali, str. Groznenskaya 67, gang band of Shapiyev M.E.;

29. Ozdiev Usman Vikhayevich, 24.12.1990, Shali, str.Kutuzova 12, gang band Shapiyev M.E.;

30. Abumuslimov Apti Khasanovich, 06.12.1989, Shali, str.Shkolnaya 16, gang band Dasaev Imran Aobovich;

31. Usmanov Ismail Ibragimovich, 19.08.1991, Shali, str. Rjechnaya 9, accomplice of Adam Dasaev (gang band of Dasaev E.A.) (supplied regimentals) transferred to the Center for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of the Interior at the Chechen Republic;

32. Akimov Apti Madiyevich, 03.09.1990, Shali, str. Parolielnaya 28, (gang band of Tsykmaev A.S.);

33. Ebishov Zaur Aslanbekovich, 07.07. 1987, Shali, str. Pervomayskoye 30, (gang band of Suleymanov M.A.);

34. Magomadov Dzhabrail Aobovich, 29.09.1994, Shali, str. Kutuzova, (gang band of Shapiyev M.I.);

35. Pataev Salambek Sultanovich, 01.03.1988, Shali, str. Lenina 18, (gang band of Tsykmaev A.S.) transferred to the Center for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of the Interior at the Chechen Republic;

36. Muskhanov Temirlan Akhmadovich, 28.04.1986, residing in Shali, str. Chicherina 2, EMIR -2 persons;

37. Suleymanov Magomed Arbiyevich, 03.01.1987, Shali, village Kavkaz 2 app. 4, EMIR – 7 persons, received a gun GM from Dasaev Imran through Raybek.

Three months before publication in the newspaper, the list of 27 killed was transferred to the Investigative Committee of Russia.

We insisted on thorough verification of this information. The audit was conducted by the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the North Caucasus Federal District. We, in turn, continued a journalistic investigation and published partially and then completely charts, diagrams and tables provided by a source from the Office of the Federal Security Service of Chechnya.

At the same time and independently from Novaya Gazeta (this decision was made deliberately, in order to preserve maximum objectivity), the human rights center Memorial, in particular, the head of the Chechen branch Oyub Titiyev, conducted their own investigation. The table of 67 detainees featured his great-nephew – Yusup Titiyev, who was taken on January 9, 2017 to the A. Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service.

In March 2018, almost a year after we handed over the information about extrajudicial punishment to the investigation, the investigator of the Main Investigation Department for the North Caucasus Federal District Vladimir Polivanov made a decision not to initiate a criminal case.

During the year, the investigator Polivanov

  • did not interview the journalists of the “Novaya Gazeta”, who provided the investigation with information on the case of 27 killed,
  • did not request and did not withdraw the table and the chart, which proved the indisputable fact of the detention by the Chechen security forces of all the people mentioned in the “hit list”
  • did not contact Human Rights Center “Memorial”, to which, at that time, relatives of the murdered had already filed requests for legal assistance.

The audit was carried out superficially.

Obviously, the main purpose of the investigation was to conceal any information capable of confirming the fact of mass extrajudicial execution, massive illegal detentions, prolonged detention in “secret prisons”, the terrible torture of people and the subsequent falsification of criminal charges against them.

It would be a mistake to assume that in this way the investigation was blocking out and covering only the Chechen security officials. In fact, an awareness of the true meaning of the information, made public by the journalists of Novaya Gazeta, came later.

With a proper investigation, the accusation of committing grave crimes would have to be presented not only to ordinary Chechen policemen, but personally and publicly, in front of the journalist cameras to the leadership of the republic who ran police raids in January 2017.

Moreover.

The officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who were seconded to the Republic, as well as the staff of the investigative department of the Chechnya Investigative Committee and the Chechen Federal Security Service, could have been implicated in these crimes on an equal footing with the Chechens.

With the latter, in fact, this story began. It was the Chechnya Office of the Federal Security Service that in January 2017 sent “on the trail” Chechen policemen trained for the violence but, apparently, incapable of operational investigative activities. Large-scale police raids took place from January 9–12, 2017. These raids were widely covered by local and federal media. They were attended by local district police officers, operational officers of the Kurchaloyevsky and Shali Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, and they received power support mainly from the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service in Grozny employees. Dozens of people were detained, but almost all those arrested were not involved in any illegal activities.

Photo: Chevron of the fighter of A. Kadyrov regiment. Screenshot “Grozny TV”. Text of the chevron: Special Police Regiment of the Ministry of the Interior in the Chechen Republic named after the hero of Russia A.A. Kadyrov.

Indicative in this sense is the raid in the village of Tsotsi-Yurt, Kurchaloyevsky district.

On January 9, the village was completely cordoned off. The police table, which was at the disposal of Novaya Gazeta, includes 11 residents of Tsotsi-Yurt, but in fact there were more detainees. Ten of the eleven detainees were subsequently charged with a fully falsified charge of possession of weapons and participation in an illegal armed group (IAF).

One of the detainees, Mokhma Muskiev, was executed. The reason for his murder could be his last name:

the distant relatives of Mokhma, the four brothers of the Muskievs, were once, in the days of independent Ichkeria, very influential militants and serious enemies of the Kadyrov family. Subsequently, some of the men of the Muskiev family even had to change their last name (take the maternal name, which is absolutely not accepted by the Chechens). Mokhma Muskiev has not changed his last name. On January 9, he was taken straight from the construction site, in clothes, stained with concrete, in galoshes on his bare feet …

Photo: Mokhma Muskiev

Among those detained on January 9-12, the residents of the town of Shali turned out to be the most numerous- 28 people. Eight of them were in a “hit list”. The reason for the mass detentions in Shali was the search for participants (and their possible connections) of a real-life armed group, which included Raybek Idrisov, Umar Ozdiyev, Uzum-Khadzhi Madaev, Alikhan Kupchiev, as well as cousins Adam and Imran Dasaevy. The recruiter and, it seems, the leader was someone named Doku Rashidov.

The group has existed at least since 2015, in October 2016, Idrisov, Kupchiev and, apparently, Adam Dasaev committed the murder of Dautmerzayev, a private security officer, and kidnapped his service weapon – a Makarov pistol and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. This murder remained unsolved until, in January 2017, the Chechnya Department of Federal Security Service gave the Chechen Ministry of Internal Affairs operational information on Uzum-Khadzhi Madaev (resident of the village of Kurchaloy, born in 1980. In December 2004, he was sentenced to 12 years and six months, from January 2015 remained under administrative supervision) and Imran Dasaev.

Apparently, even information of the Office of the Federal Security Service was rather vague, because on January 9 more than a hundred policemen cordoned off Imran Dasaev’s house in Shali, but none of the policemen came to Kupchiev and Idrisov. Despite the cordon, Imran Dasaev was able to leave and join the accomplices. Quietly they got out of Shali and, while the Chechen police broke the floors in the Dasaevs’ house, they left in the direction of the village of Avtury. However, they got lost and decided to stay in the village of Geldagan at the sister of Adam Dasaev.

And another big question, is whether they would have caught this group if it had not been for the sister’s husband, who had called and informed his relative who served in the battalion of the National Guard Division “North”.

These were the fighters of the “North” who, as a result, stormed the house on January 11, in which there were five poorly armed in general and not very good with weapons people. The sixth, Imran Dasaev, after several unsuccessful attempts to convince his accomplices not to resist and try to get out of the republic instead, fled himself. Already at a decent distance from the house of the brother-in-law, he heard the sounds of battle. During the shootout and the assault four militants were destroyed. Adam Dasaev was taken alive. Three employees of the “North” battalion also died.

With a great deal of confidence, it can be assumed that about the involvement of the group in the murder of the private security officer of Doutmerzayev it was learned from Adam Dasaev. At the place of the battle his service weapon was found – machine gun and pistol. On the night of January 12-13, the pistol was planted in a package in the house of Imran Dasaev. This house was completely controlled by the Chechen security forces from January 9, as the Dasaevs themselves told in court and their fellow villagers confirmed.

Meanwhile, on January 14, Imran Dasaev reached Grozny and, realizing that he had little chance, he decided to surrender. Not far from Minutka Square, he approached the district police officer, told his name and was detained.

This is how Ramzan Kadyrov described the detention in his Instagram:

RAMZAN KADYROV DESCRIBES DETENTION OF DASAEV IN GROZNY

“He was overtaken in the Minutka Square in the courtyard of the Orbita shopping center. Police officers blocked the bandit and offered to surrender. He threw a grenade in their direction. They managed to take Datsaev (as in the text. – E.M.) alive. He gives detailed testimony, names, sources of arms acquisition.

This confirms information known to the operatives. In the fall of 2016, Datsayev killed Senior Police Sergeant Ayub Dautmerzayev. He explained that he had received an order from the Iblissky state (a group prohibited in the Russian Federation – E.M.) to kill any employee and send a report in order to earn trust. Now he had the audacity to apologize for the murder and say that he repented.

The whole gang was coordinated by a native of the city of Shali in Syria. His name and surname are known. All contacts were tracked. At the moment, the whole gang is neutralized, more than 50 participants have been taken to the police departments. This is a great success of law enforcement agencies, who were very actively helped by the population.

Since the end of the summer of last year, in the conditions of strict secrecy, work has been carried out to control those who recruited gang members, bought weapons, and developed plans to commit terrorist acts. At that moment, when they realized that it was necessary to liquidate the gang, they conducted a special operation in several localities … ”

The source.

However, the materials of numerous criminal cases refute the claims of Ramzan Kadyrov.

In these cases, there are many indications of months of falsification, sometimes completely stupid, and sometimes – infinitely impudent.

But the traces of the months-long “secret” (apparently, the head of Chechnya was referring to the operational-investigative work) – were not found. Almost all the detainees who survived to the criminal case and the court were seized chaotically. The composition of the gang and the leadership, according to the police, were constantly changing (the same people first admitted under torture that they were in the Mokhma Muskiev gang, then in the Uzum-Khadzhi Madaev gang, then in the Imran Dasaev gang). There is no evidence of the existence of stable ties in gangs, the distribution of roles and other characteristics of an organized criminal community.

Members of the fictional illegal armed formations got to know each other after their arrest, when they were chained handcuffed to radiators in illegal places of detention.

All of them gave “confessions,” but in this case they were literally blank sheets on which the detainees simply put their signatures. There were hundreds of such sheets.

The falsification, which was carried out by the investigative bodies of the republic, trying to legalize “more than 50 detainees” as a result of the January police raids (a figure that Kadyrov himself repeatedly voiced publicly), is eloquently illustrated by the situation with the brothers Adam and Imran Dasaev.

As it was in reality:

 HOW ADAM DASAEV WAS KILLED IN REALITY

Adam Dasaev was detained on January 11, 2017. On this day, it was shown on all federal channels. For example, in the story of All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company Adam Dasaev is surrounded by Ramzan Kadyrov, Magomed Daudov, Ruslan Alkhanov, Aslan Iraskhanov (commander of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of the police patrol and inspection service), Abudzayt Vismuradov (commander of SWAT “Terek”) and other Chechen security forces.

The detention of Adam Dasaev in the story by “Vesti”

After the arrest, Adam Dasaev was placed in the basement under the gym of the Regiment of Akhmat Kadyrov police patrol, in the cell, he sat with his brother Imran Dasaev. According to eyewitness accounts, both brothers were terribly tortured. Late in the evening of January 26, several operative search officers came to the basement of the gym. At least 13 people were taken out of the cells – all of them are listed in the Novaya Gazeta table as “amirs”. They were offered to sign a strange text that they pledge not to leave Russia.

Then the officers of the Regiment of Akhmat Kadyrov police patrol took the detainees two by two and brought them by the UAZ to the barracks No. 6. In the basement of this barracks, in the room with a tennis table were the regimental commander Aslan Irakhanov and the head of the Department of the Ministry of Interior for Shali Tamerlan Musayev. Also in the basement of the barracks No. 6 was the head of the Shali district Turpal-Ali Ibrahimov and his guards. Iraskhanov and Musaev played tennis, the detainees were squatting in the same room.

They were taken to the neighboring room one by one and killed there.

The first of the detainees was shot dead, after which they decided “not to soil the room with blood, as the soldiers of the regiment train there.”

The rest of the detainees were laid on the floor,

four people pressed their arms and legs to the floor, a sports rope was let in under their necks, and one of the officers stepped on the head of the detainee and tightened the rope around his neck.

The bodies were taken to Shali.

That is how Adam Dasaev was killed.

Photo: Ramzan Kadyrov awards the commander of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment Aslan Iraskhanov with a medal in honor of the 15th anniversary of the formation of the regiment. Picture from “Grozny TV”

However, despite his public (shown on all TV channels of the country) detention, Adam Dasaev does not appear in the materials of the criminal case. The investigation “remembered” him and clarified his fate only when Novaya Gazeta transferred the list of 27 people killed to the Investigation Committee.

According to the investigator of the Main Investigation Department for the North Caucasus Federal District, Vladimr Polivanov, Adam Dasaev “was never detained by <Chechen law enforcement agencies because he …” is on the international wanted list on suspicion of participating in illegal armed groups in the Syrian Arab Republic … “. This very search of Adam Dasaev was announced after Novaya Gazeta published information about his murder in the Regiment of Akhmat Kadyrov police patrol.

The detained Imran Dasaev on the day of his arrest – January 14 – was also shown on television – this time in the news of the TV channel “Grozny”.

The detention of Imran Dasaev shown on “Grozny TV”

The clip was very long – about half an hour. This moment (clip length) is very important, and here’s why. Imran Dasaev stands in front of Ramzan Kadyrov, surrounded by the same Chechen security officials. Stands in the cold, without outerwear. Stands for a long time. Already Kadyrov’s entourage put on warm jackets. The security forces have already changed, holding Dasaev standing with his hands behind his back, apparently handcuffed. And only the head of Chechnya, not feeling neither fatigue nor frost, is talking and talking … But this is what matters. During the half-hour speech of the head of the republic Imran Dasaev does not show any signs of a bullet wound in the leg, which, according to the investigation, he received during the battle in the village of Geldagen.

He has no injuries in the television clip, made on January 14, 2017.

However, the next day Imran Dasaev will be in the basement of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of police patrol gym with a shot through leg, in which a bullet stuck (it has not yet been removed from his leg). Dasaev’s leg will be forbidden to be treated and generally it will be forbidden to render any assistance to him. During the torture, it is precisely this leg that will be repeatedly and specifically beaten. In the end, Imran Dasaev will not be able to move independently, and his cellmates will take him to the toilet. One of these days Imran Dasaev will try to commit suicide by weaving a noose from his underwear, but he will be stopped on time.

Photo: Imran Dasaev detained. Screenshot from “Grozny TV.” No injuries to the leg yet.

Imran Dasaev told his cellmates about the circumstances of his injury: on January 14, he was taken to the residence of the head of Chechnya. I suppose, without the cameras of journalists, the conversation with Dasaev was much more harsh. At some point Imran Dasaev could not stand it and, with his own words about Father of Ramzan Kadyrov, provoked the latter.

Ramzan snatched the pistol from the guards and opened indiscriminate shooting, sending, however, the muzzle of the pistol to the floor. One of the bullets (perhaps a ricochet) hit Dasaev’s leg.

Several people confirmed Dasaev’s testimony to Novaya Gazeta, including one of the witnesses who gave written non-anonymous explanations. Novaya Gazeta will be ready to provide this evidence to the investigation as part of a criminal case initiated on the murder of 27 people.

However, it is written in the materials of the criminal case that Imran Dasaev was detained not on January 14, but … on February 15, 2017 in Shali by officers of the Shali Department of the Ministry of Interior.

Photo: The barracks No 6 on the territory of Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of police patrol and inspection service in Grozny. Screenshot from: “Grozny TV”.

… Those who detained, tortured, killed, and then falsified the charges to the survivors, clearly expected that this whole story would sink into oblivion, as many and many crimes committed in Chechnya had sunk into oblivion. But one should not think that in Chechnya, all the security forces agree on what is going on there. Not all employees of the Akhmat Kadyrov Regiment of police patrol brutally tortured detainees – those who survived there, remember at least 6 employees who clearly felt sorry for the people and tried to somehow alleviate their situation.

Someone had the courage, compiled and handed over to the Novaya Gazeta a list of 27 people killed. Someone, shocked by the senseless cruelty of a mass execution – tables and charts.

All these people from different departments, but equally courageous, laid upon us the responsibility and the hope that this terrible crime will not remain unrecognized and unpunished. We have joined forces with all human rights organizations working, despite tremendous pressure, in Chechnya. During two years of hard work, we found enough evidence that a criminal case on the fact of extrajudicial execution of 27 people, illegal detentions, torture and falsification of criminal cases shall be initiated and investigated. And the criminals to be named and punished.

To be continued…

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