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Four Human Rights NGOs Address Open Letter to Acting President of Dagestan, Ramzan Abdulatipov

20 February 2013 

Source: (info)
On February 18 Aleksandr Cherkasov, chair of the Board of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, Ludmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, and Lev Ponomarev, executive director of the All-Russia Movement For Human Rights, addressed an open letter to acting President of the Republic of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov. In the letter, the human rights defenders direct Mr Abdulatipov's attention to the abduction and torture of an 18-year-old resident of the town of Derbent, Mr Alibek Mirzekhanov. Memorial Human Rights Center reported this case earlier (see in Russian:

On February 2, law enforcement officers abducted the young man. They brutally tortured him in an attempt to extract false testimony from him.

Earlier Mirzekhanov had been accepted by a Commission under the President of the Republic of Dagestan that works with individuals who wish to return to peacetime life after having ceased to be engaged in terrorist or extremist activities in Dagestan.

The work of forces that are supposed to be “combating extremism” nullifies all the efforts of government to counteract propaganda by illegal armed groups and their members, and wipes out all the positive achievements of the Commission for Readaptation in Dagestan over the last few years.

On 18 February Alibek Mirzekhanov posted a new video on YouTube ( in which he states that the Dagestan authorities failed to pay any attention to his request to protect him from the lawlessness of law enforcement agencies.

In their open letter to R.G. Abdulatipov, the human rights defenders write:

"Dear Mr. Abdulatipov: You came to Dagestan with the intention to lead the republic out of crisis. However, it will be impossible to resolve the situation in Dagestan, and to stop the young men from joining illegal armed groups, without putting an end to mass gross violations of human rights by officers law enformcement agencies, or putting an end to the criminal practice of abductions, torture, and falsification of evidence.

Mr Alibek Mirzekhanov is only 18 years of age. He is very young and believes in the possibility of justice and in the sincerity of your intentions to institute the rule of law in Dagestan.

We urge you to respond to Alibek Mirzekhanov appeal and to take under your personal oversight the investigation into his abduction and torture. You must not allow the criminals in uniform to escape responsibility. The future of Dagestan depends on whether the Russian Constitution and federal laws will be upheld, and whether the religious young people, including Mr Alibek Mirzekhanov, believe in you." 

The whole text of the open letter by the human rights defenders has been published on the website of Memorial Human Rights Centre:

February 20, 2013