Conflict with high-ranking person: who’s behind the case against former head of Makhachkala MIA?
Methods, that the Dagestan security forces use, continue to amaze. The high-profile case of the Gasanguseynov brothers has not yet abated, and a new scandal flared up already. A pension fund employee, Omar Abdurashidov, accused the staff of the FSB Directorate for Dagestan of kidnapping him, torturing him and threatening to kill him. Unable to bear the abuse, Abdurashidov slandered both himself and the former head of the Makhachkala police Raip Ashikov. Now both of them are involved in the terrorist financing case.
On March 28, relatives of Omar Abdurashidov, head of the Pension Fund branch in the Tarumovsky district of the Republic of Dagestan, said that the man had been kidnapped. They said that the 42-year-old official disappeared when he was in the capital of Dagestan. About five o'clock in the evening, Abdurashidov left the store near house No. 38 on Engels Street and was immediately approached by people on a white Gazel car. Security cameras of the store recorded how two people forced a man into a car and drove away in an unknown direction. After that, the abducted person stopped communicating.
The next day, Sapiyat Magomedova, Abdurashidov's lawyer, sent statements to the heads of all law enforcement agencies in Dagestan asking for help to locate her client. The lawyer did not rule out that the missing person was detained as part of the investigation of the criminal case and is located in a unit of one of the power structures of Dagestan. In addition, Magomedova suggested that pressure could be put on the detainee: the security forces did not inform the relatives about the fate of Abdurashidov, since “they try to beat out some information from him.”
Soon the lawyer had new grounds for accusations against security officials. Magomedova reported that, in her opinion, on the night of March 29-30, law enforcement officers placed weapons into her client's house. According to Magomedova, the security forces in advance, when no one was nearby, broke open the gates of the house of Abdurashidov on Mamedbekov Street in Makhachkala. And when the sister and minor son of Abdurashidov returned there, the people in masks, but in civilian clothes, entered with them into the house for a search. And the relatives noticed that the gate had already been broken.
The son of Abdurashidov noticed a bag in possession of one of the security forces officers and declared that he was going to place something at his father's possession. Immediately after that, he was taken out of the house into the courtyard. And soon people in masks said that under one of the mattresses they found a weapon – a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Abdurashidov's relatives are sure that the weapons were placed there on purpose. “The house was cleaned. Sister watched everywhere. We checked everything... There was nothing in the house,” says the second sister of Abdurashidov, Khadizhat Umakhanova. She also stressed that her brother had never had problems with law enforcement agencies before.
Relatives say: the security forces came to search with a man's purse and several old phones, and then gave them out for things they had just discovered. “Seeing this, the son and sister of Abdurashidov refused to sign the protocol,” Magomedova said.
Lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova
According to the lawyer, no witnesses were present during the search of the house. They were invited to enter inside only an hour and a half after the start of the investigation. “One of the neighbors-witnesses said that the employees showed her the decision to initiate a criminal case. The only thing that she managed to notice was the Article 205 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (financing of terrorist activities) specified in the document. Abdurashidov is claimed to have transferred 200 thousand rubles ($3000) to someone,” the lawyer said.
Magomedova also arrived at the defendant’s home, but she was not allowed to enter inside, citing the instructions of the investigator. At the house, the lawyer noticed two jeeps without license plates and other identification marks. “Most likely, Abdurashidov is in the FSB Directorate for the Republic of Dagestan, as one of the employees said on telephone that he would soon be on Dakhadaev street in the FSB building,” Magomedova suggested.
According to the lawyer, she called the FSB Directorate for Dagestan, where she was informed that the department did not participate in the search of the Abdurashidovs' house. Then Magomedova doubted that the security forces act legally and called police. However, masked men refused to introduce themselves to the police, and did not let them into the house.
It soon became clear that Omar Abdurashidov was indeed detained. However, what exactly is incriminated to him remained unknown before the court hearing on the election of a preventive measure. It took place on March 31 in the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala.
The investigation suspected Abdurashidov of complicity with the sections of illegal armed groups (IAF), the financing of the forbidden in Russia terrorist organization Islamic State and the illegal circulation of weapons. But the judge did not have time to consider the request of the investigator, as something unimaginable began to happen in the hall.
Lawyer Salimat Kadyrova
Even before the beginning of the court session, the second lawyer of Abdurashidov, Salimat Kadyrova, told the local media that her client had been tortured. The detainee was tortured with a current, beaten and used psychological methods of influence. “They brought him naked to the beach, put him on his knees and said that he would now be killed. Twice they shot past his head,” said the lawyer.
During trial, Abdurashidov looked depressed and exhausted, with signs of torture visible on his neck. And when they began to publicize the petition of the investigation, the detainee felt bad: Abdurashidov began to shake the cell, beat his head and shout that he had not committed any crimes, and did not finance the terrorists.
Video: Omar Abdurashidov accuses his kidnappers of tortures
The lawyer asked to call an ambulance for the client. In the ensuing turmoil, the relatives of the defendant broke into his cell and showed everyone present injuries on the knees, neck, head and tongue of Abdurashidov. And he himself said that the police beat out his testimony against Raip Ashikov, the former police chief of the Makhachkala police department. Abdurashidov confirmed the words of the lawyer that he was really tortured. He was taken ashore by the sea, beaten, put on their knees and shot twice in the head so that the bullets passed right next to the head. Unable to bear the abuse, Abdurashidov signed testimony against the former head of the Makhachkala police.
According to the lawyer Salimat Kadyrova, the defendant shared with her concerns that he might not be able to withstand the torture and was ready to commit suicide. In addition, the security forces are threatening the relatives of Abdurashidov: they promise to place something illegal in possession of the minor son of the detainee.
When the meeting was resumed, Judge Jala Jalalov decided to imprison the defendant for ten days. By law, during this time he must either be charged or released. And a video from the courtroom was published on the Internet on the same day.
The next day, March 1, relatives of the detainee complained to journalists that investigators of the FSB Directorate for the Republic of Dagestan were obstructing the medical examination of Abdurashidov, which would record beatings and traces of torture. Therefore, the relatives filed a statement addressed to the Prosecutor of the Republic of Dagestan, Denis Popov, in which they asked to check the legality of the actions of the investigators of the Dagestan FSB Directorate. The lawyer of the detainee, Salimat Kadyrova, believes that law enforcement officers are deliberately stretching the time. “I filed an application to the office of the ICR of Dagestan, the republic’s prosecutor’s office and the FSB Directorate for Dagestan. In a statement, I demanded to initiate a criminal case and bring to justice those responsible for the torture of my client, to carry out a pre-investigation check and immediately, before the disappearance of traces of torture, to appoint a forensic examination. But none of my demands have yet been fulfilled. With expertise, too, they specifically stretch the time, waiting for the traces of torture to disappear.”
According to the lawyer, Abdurashidov is no longer tortured, but he is still in a very depressed psychological state.
On April 2, Omar Abdurashidov’s sister, Khayranat Gasanguseynova, came to the picket outside the building of the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee for Republic of Dagestan with a placard: “I demand immediate medical examination of the traces of torture of Abdurashidov Omar.” The woman told reporters that Abdurashidov’s relatives did not intend to stop the pickets until they “punish those who did this to him.” “A few minutes later, as I began the action, a man came out to me, introduced himself as an employee of the investigative department. He learned about the purpose of the action and began to say that I came to a wrong place, that I should go to the prosecutor’s office, picket there. He tried in every way to send me from there to another place,” Gasanguseynova told reporters.
Khayranat Gasanguseynova protesting
Raip Ashikov, against whom Abdurashidov might have been asked to testify, was detained at the airport of Makhachkala immediately after he arrived from Moscow, on the night of March 31. The former head of the Makhachkala police department, who in recent years worked in the security service of the Dagestan branch of the Agricultural Bank, was suspected of supporting the armed underground. Employees of the Investigative Department of the FSB Directorate for Dagestan incriminate Ashikov of committing a crime under Part 1.1 of Art. 205.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (financing of terrorism).
Ex-Head of Makhachkala police department Raip Ashikov
The investigation believes that Abdurashidov assisted in transferring of money to the militants by a former high-ranking police officer. Moreover, all the charges are based on evidence obtained after the detention. “From the testimony of Omar Abdurashidov, who was detained on March 29, it was established that on December 1, 2018, Ashikov handed him 160 thousand rubles ($2500) to finance the terrorist activities of the Dagestan bandit underground (to buy weapons and products), said Investigator of the Federal Security Service of the Republic of Dagestan on Alekseev at a meeting on the election of a preventive measure in Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala. The investigation believes that Abdurashidov added another 40 thousand rubles ($500) to the sum received from Ashikov and transferred all 200 thousand rubles ($3000) to a member of the illegal armed groups, Marat Alinichiev, who attempted to kill law enforcement officers. The transfer of money took place on Gogol Street in Makhachkala.
The judge inquired about the charges against Alinichiev, to which the investigator replied that the criminal case on the fact of the assassination attempt of the police officers was terminated due to the death of the accused. The judge asked: "If there is no article 208, then what is the involvement of Aliniciev in the IAF?" Alekseev failed to give an answer.
Also, the investigator confirmed that during the search in the house of Abdurashidov, “an object similar to a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition to it” was found. According to Alekseev, a USB-flash drive with the recording of Alinichiev’s video message to Abdurashidov was also found with a request to transfer money to him to support the illegal armed groups operating in Dagestan.
A representative of the prosecution asked the court to imprison Ashikov, since the suspect can use his “extensive law enforcement contacts” to put pressure on witnesses and investigators in the case.
The defense is convinced that there are no legal grounds for Ashikov’s imprisonment. “The only reason the investigation presented was the interrogation of Abdurashidov, who was abducted and then mysteriously suddenly found himself in the building of the FSB of Dagestan. It is not clear, based on what, with respect to Ashikov such a tough measure of restraint should be chosen. The investigator said that Ashikov could continue to engage in criminal activity. Previously, he served as chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Makhachkala. Is this a criminal activity? The witness is detained and is in the jail. How can Ashikov put pressure on him while he is free?” Sapiyat Magomedova, who also represents the interests of Abdurashidov, is perplexed.
Another argument of the defender was that “at the time of the arrest of Abdurashidov, Ashikov was in Moscow, he had Russian and foreign passports with him. He was aware of the detention of Abdurashidov and could have gone anywhere, but he did not go anywhere, did not hide, but flew to Makhachkala.” The lawyer also noted that searches were conducted in the house of her client and at the place of his work, but nothing illegal was found.
At the court session, Magomedova spent half an hour listing all the numerous certificates of honor and insignia that Ashikov was awarded with while working in law enforcement. Among them is the Order of Courage, several letters from the Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia. “Ashikov has been working in law enforcement agencies since 1995, and he has struggled all his life with illegal armed groups, because of this activity there were numerous attempts on him and his family. He had awards for his activities, including from the FSB,” Magomedova emphasized.
Lawyer Ali Gadzhialiyev, admitted by the court to participate in the process as a public defender of Ashikov, confirmed the words of the lawyer. “Throughout his professional activities, Ashikov fought against illegal armed groups. It is nonsense that he financed the terrorists. In connection with his active work in the fight against terrorism, Raip and his family were attempted on several times. During one of the attempts on him, a police officer, who was guarding him, died. Ashikov acquired a lot of enemies in the course of his professional activities. Everyone knows that Ashikov himself and his brothers, who also work in law enforcement, were sentenced to death by members of illegal armed groups,” said Ashikov’s friend.
The former head of the Makhachkala police flatly denied his guilt: “I did not transfer any money to Abdurashidov. We had not such good relations with him, that he would ask me for money, or that I would give him money. In early December of 2018, I was not in Dagestan at all, and I physically could not transfer this money to Omar Abdurashidov,” said Ashikov at the trial.
According to the suspect, all the accusations against him were initiated by some high-ranking official, who didn’t like the actions of the head of the Makhachkala police.
“All suspicions regarding me are not substantiated, someone deliberately misinforms the FSB of Russia. We must dig into this. I started to have these problems after I had a conflict with a high-ranking person. After that, for six years they have been trying to bring me to criminal responsibility,” said Ashikov. However, the former police officer did not tell the names or the essence of the conflict. The judge listened carefully to the arguments of the suspect and his lawyers, but he took the side of the prosecution and made a decision to arrest Ashikov for two months.
Whose name the former head of the Makhachkala police, who was dismissed from office in 2013, did not tell in the court? Six years ago, the head of the Makhachkala police department was checked for involvement in several crimes. The most serious of them is the murder of investigator Arsen Hajibeyov in 2011, ordered by the gang, whose leader was Assistant Prosecutor of the City of Kizlyar Magomed Abdulgalimov (better known by the nickname Kolhoznik).
Ex-Makhachkala Mayor Sayid Amirov
However, the investigation did not file any charges against Ashikov. Security officials reported that the suspect had disappeared. But the lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova claimed that her client had been undergoing medical treatment all this time, he was not put on the wanted list and not even summoned for interrogations. And in 2015, the court recognized the former mayor of Makhachkala, Said Amirov, as the organizer of the murder of Gadzhibekov. Since Ashikov’s innocence was proven, and there was no order for his dismissal at all, he was about to reinstate himself in the service. Maybe it is for this reason that someone rushed to eliminate the ex-head of the Makhachkala police, accusing him of financing the terrorists? And Abdurashidov was detained in order to obtain the necessary evidence by any means?
By the way, according to a number of local publications, on March 29, a former employee of the internal affairs department, Ibrahim Hajiyev, was detained. Like the former head, in recent years he also worked in the Dagestan branch of Rosselbank. And now, Hajiyev is also being pressured to obtain evidence against Ashikov. Perhaps, the security forces decided to secure themselves in case Abdurashidov did not sign the necessary papers.