a-6171 (ACC-RUS-6171)

In response to your above request we can provide you with the following information:
“9. The CPT carried out a third visit to the North Caucasus (Chechen Republic) from 19 to 23 March 2001. According to Amnesty International, a high number of persons detained in Chernokozovo had been transferred to another location just before the visit. Several NGOs also remarked that the Russian Federation did not respond adequately to previous CPT observations, notably with respect to allegations of torture and ill-treatment of persons detained in Chernokozovo before February 2000. (For further information, see CPT Web Site: http://www.cpt.coe.int).” (CPT, 4 October 2001)
“In mid-February, amid mounting international attention to human rights abuses in Chechnya and calls for visits by international delegations, Russian authorities ordered a clean-up of the Chernokozovo facility. A visit in early February 2000 by Russian military officials found serious evidence of abuse, even though many abused inmates were removed from the facility prior to the visit and others were warned not to complain. By the time international monitors and journalists visited the facility in late February 2000, conditions had improved and most of the evidence of abuse had been removed. Russian officials, including presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky and special presidential representative for human rights Vladimir Kalamanov, issued blanket denials about abuses at Chernokozovo. To date, there has been no formal investigation into the abuse at Chernokozovo.
Abuses and Torture at Other Places of Detention
Improvements in conditions at Chernokozovo by mid-February did not bring relief for the increasing number of detainees who were taken to other detention places. Detainees continued to suffer abuses at checkpoints, police stations, military bases, and prisons within and beyond Chechnya. At remand prisons in Stavropol and Pyatigorsk, both located in the Stavropol territory, detainees were also met with a gauntlet of soldiers who beat them with batons, and suffered continuing severe beatings while at the detention facilities. At Mozdok military base, detainees were sodomized with batons, forced to walk between ranks of guards while being beaten and kicked, and beaten in their testicles. A doctor in Ingushetia reported receiving a patient who had been detained at Mozdok who had severely swollen genitals and appeared to have been raped, as he suffered from internal injuries to the colon. […]
Five Chernokozovo detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch were eventually transferred to remand prisons in the cities of Stavropol or Pyatigorsk, both in the Stavropol province of the Russian Federation. Former inmates at the Pyatigorsk facility, nicknamed "Belyi Lebed"--"White Swan"-- said that, like at Chernokozovo, upon arrival they were met by a gauntlet of soldiers who beat them. The facility is most likely SIZO No.2. "Issa Habuliev" described his arrival on February 18 from Chernokozovo: We were taken during the day [from Chernokozovo] and by the evening we were there. There was a corridor, on two sides there were soldiers the whole way, we were beaten from each side, with batons.... There were twenty-four [detainees] with me, including three women. (138)
None of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch were interrogated in Pyatigorsk, and none said that they were beaten after the initial "welcome gauntlet." On February 22, many of the former Chernokozovo inmates were transferred from Pyatigorsk to the Stavropol Central Prison, apparently in preparation for a commission visit to "Belyi Lebed." Issa Habuliev told Human Rights Watch: "When the commission was going to come, all the prisoners were mixed together. Of the twenty-four who had been with me [when brought to Pyatigorsk], five wounded and one woman were kept behind, the others were taken to Stavropol." (139) In Stavropol, the detainees were again beaten, gauntlet-style, when they arrived, and throughout the intake process. As in Pyatigorsk, after this process they were not beaten. "Magomed Kantiev" sarcastically described the welcome at the Stavropol prison: "They accepted us very warmly. As a result, I only was able to get up on the fourth day, and after eleven or twelve days, I could finally walk again. They beat all of us, it was the time of the February 23 holidays [Red Army Day, popularly celebrated as "International Man's Day"] and they were drunk." (140)” (HRW, October 2000)
"On the seventeenth day they sent me to the town of Chernokozovo. I hoped that it would be better for me there, although I hoped it wrong. They beat me really hard in Chernokozovo, they did not render any kind of medical aid to me there, they did not give any pain-killers either. In 20 days they took me back to Grozny, so I had to spend another month of interrogations and beating. Then they took me to Chernokozovo, and then I was back again.
"Nine months have passed like that. There was no trial at all, they did not pronounce any charges. However, they acquitted me on paragraph 205, for there was no evidence to prove that I was implicated in subversive activities. On March 19th 2002 I was sent to the city of Pyatigorsk, where a trial was supposed to take place. I was "welcomed" with batons, as usual. There were 21 Chechen men in the basement.
"The first session on my case took place on April 19. The court brought down a sentence on April 24th. I was acquitted on paragraph 209, although I was sentenced to spend two months in a correctional colony, for I was found guilty on all other charges. They said that I was a Chechen national, so they could not acquit me completely. However, I had to spend six months in the detention center of Pyatigorsk, although I was supposed to be sent to a correctional colony at once. Russian FSB agents came to see me in June. They tortured me, trying to make me confess that my last name was Bakalayev. They failed to prove that I was a terrorist leader, so they left me alone.
"On September 3rd, I left Pyatigorsk and went to a correctional colony in the city of Volgograd. There was another Chechen man with me. They arranged a special kind of "welcome" for us: we were the last to step off the train, they beat us up brutally and then dragged us into prison cells. We were already used to that. On September 15th I was sent to the federal prison in the town of Solikamsk, where lifetime prisoners are kept. The “welcome” that I was given there reminded me my first days in the Leninsky Internal Affairs department of Grozny. Salman Raduyev (a Chechen terrorist leader) was in the same building with me. I heard him yelling of tortures every night. On September 23rd I was sent to another prison called the Red Swan, which was 100 kilometers off Solikamsk. I found myself in a correctional colony on September 26th.
"The "hospitality" differed with the energy of my beating: somewhere they tried to show some mercy on me, although I was beaten rather brutally in other places. There were 19 Chechen men in the colony already. I spent about five months there, before I was released ahead of the scheduled time on the base of paragraph 79 of the Russian Criminal Code.
"My relatives came to pick me up on January 17th, 2003, and I finally came back home. However, they wanted to arrest me the next day. Fortunately, I was not at home at that moment, so I decided to hide somewhere. Later on, me and my family left for the city of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for I had no wish at all to find myself a captive of Russian special services. God save everyone from this nightmare." (Konets epochi Pu, 13 September 2007)
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to ACCORD within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please read in full all documents referred to.