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Daghestani man appeals to ECHR over ‘police torture’

2 November 2018
Abutalib Shakhruyev (OC Media)

A man from the Russian Republic of Daghestan has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over torture he says he was subjected to at Daghestan’s Centre for Countering Extremism. Abutalib Shakhruyev was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March for ‘aiding and financing members of illegal armed formations’.

Shakhruyev’s lawyer, Arsen Shabanov, told OC Media his client was hit by a car without license plates in July last year and taken to the Centre for Countering Extremism by men in military uniforms.

According to Shabanov, Shakhruyev, a carpenter, was heading to a job in a village outside the Daghestani capital, Makhachkala.

Shakhruyev’s lawyer said that at the centre, his client was beaten and tortured with electric current, with live wires attached to his fingers, toes, ears, and mouth.

‘His humiliation did not end there. One member of staff at the Centre for Countering Extremism introduced a mop handle into his anus, they beat Abutalib with a plastic bottle filled with sand, put a bag over his head and demanded he confess that he was an accomplice to a member of a Makhachkala terrorist group, Ilyas Khalilov. This person is in fact no longer alive’, Shabanov said.

In the interrogation report, Shakhruyev confessed to meeting Khalilov in January 2017, admitting that Khalilov told him he was a part of an illegal armed formation and had asked him to find a rented apartment and give him ₽70,000 ($1,100).

According to his lawyer, Shakhruyev was told he could either confess and go to jail or be taken to a forest and set on fire in a car.

[Read on OC Media: The disappeared men in Daghestan’s ‘fake war on terror’]

His lawyer said he agreed to confess after police threatened to bring his brother and sister to the Centre for Countering Extremism.

He said police admitted that they had confused him with another person, ‘but if people fall into their hands, then they don’t get out of here’.

According to Shakhruyev’s lawyer, he was refused access to his client for some time while he was in detention. He said police officers forced Abutalibov to refuse his services.

‘Fell out of bed’

During his trial, Shakhruyev renounced his confession and insisted he had signed it under torture.

A paramedic who attended Shakhruyev at the detention centre told the court Shakhruyev was suffering haematomas to the eye, on the shoulders, in the pelvic area, multiple abrasions to the face, back, legs, arms, abdomen and buttocks, and wounds in on his fingers.

‘When the doctor asked if the detainee had been beaten, the temporary detention centre officers answered that he had fallen out of bed’, according to Shakhruyev’s lawyer.

At the trial, officers told the court that during his arrest, Shakhruyev tried to resist and to escape, which was when he sustained his injuries.

According to Shakhruyev’s lawyer, the Daghestani Investigation Department refused to open a criminal investigation into the allegations of torture.

Shakhruyev’s mother, Kurbankiz Shakhruyeva, filed a complaint with Daghestan’s Investigation Department about his torture before the trial even began.

Her appeal was denied because Shakhruyev’s injuries were sustained ‘during resistance’.

Daghestan’s Prosecutor’s Office later cancelled the refusal to open a criminal case against security officials, but has not taken any action to open an investigation.

Shakhruyev is currently serving his time in a penal colony in Adygea. Shakhruyev’s lawyers began submitting the case to the ECHR after the final appeal over his conviction was refused in May.