Human rights Ombudswoman refuses to initiate case on ‘extrajudicial executions’ in Chechnya
The ICR refuses to initiate cases on the fact that 27 people went missing in Chechnya, Ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova says. All of them are defendants in the case of involvement in ISIS organization (banned in Russia).
The Investigative Committee issues a resolution refusing to initiate a criminal investigation into the disappearance of 27 people, about whom Novaya Gazeta wrote. The publication reported that all these people were massively executed in early 2017 with no court decisions.
Replying to the question of the BBC Russian Service about Novaya Gazeta reports, Moskalkova says: "The case was initiated against the citizens named in this list as left for ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) and participated in an illegal organization."
"The Investigative Committee issues a decision to refuse an initiation of the criminal case with regard to the people considered missing," she says.
Moskalkova adds that she is following the "progress of cases." According to her, she does not have "new information" for today.
Novaya Gazeta reported in July last year that a massive extrajudicial execution took place in Chechnya on the night of January 26, 2017, 27 residents of the republic fell victims to it. The edition referred to its sources in the Chechen branch of the Investigative Committee (ICR) and the Administration of the republican leader. According to the newspaper, all of them were detained during mass investigative actions on the territory of the republic, which began in mid-December 2016, they were not registered as detainees, and they were not charged officially. The edition also published a list of names of the deceased.
In July last year, some relatives of the missing people told BBC Russian Service that law enforcement officials detained them. They were forced to write statements that the missing people had left for Syria or just "left home and did not return."
The authorities of Chechnya have repeatedly denied the mass execution of the residents of the republic. Thus, Zhambulat Umarov, the Chechen Minister for National Policy, External Relations, Press and Information, called the publication "falseness," as well as "a surge of morbid fantasy."
In September 2017, Moskalkova, referring to the investigative bodies of Chechnya, reported that 18 criminal cases had been initiated into the disappearance of people. It was found that two died by their death, two others were alive, she told then. At the same time, the Ombudswoman stressed that she would check this information.
Initially, the defendants in the case had been charged with embezzlement through swindling in the amount of 225 million rubles ($3.3 million). In the final version of the indictment, the article was changed to 1.5-billion-ruble ($22.45 million) embezzlement.