Igor Kalyapin on the detention of Ruslan Kutaev

posted 6 Mar 2014, 23:28 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 6 Mar 2014, 23:40 ]
26 February 2014

Source: HRO.org (info)
Igor Kalyapin, chair of the Committee Against Torture and member of the Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, has initiated a joint investigation by a group of lawyers into reports that the well-known Chechen public figure Ruslan Kutaev was beaten and had drugs planted on him.

Igor Kalyapin: "Yesterday, 24 February, after overcoming some technical difficulties, I managed to meet Ruslan Kutaev and examine him. It so happened that I did this together with the deputy police minister for the Chechen Republic, Apti Alaudinov. Apti Aronovich is an extremely interesting person, and in his own way even legendary. I would, of course, have preferred to meet Kutaev on my own, and separately from the respected general, but I had no choice in the matter. When I examined Kutaev I saw that he had considerable bruising to his shoulder and leg, but nothing that endangered his life. In answer to the question how he came to be bruised, Kutaev answered that he had fallen down BEFORE HIS ARREST. It would have been stupid of me to expect any other answer from him in the presence of Alaudinov and the head of the police station, and I chose not to ask any more difficult questions. When I discussed the situation later with Alaudinov, in all good faith I tried to create as full a picture as I could of what happened from the puzzling official evidence contained in the materials of the case, and the explanations of Alautdinov. I must admit, that I didn’t have much success with this, the different elements of the official picture don’t fit well together.

The Facts:

On 18 February in the Grozny central library an academic historical conference was held to mark the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Chechen and Ingush peoples. Taking part in the conference were Chechen veterans of the Second World War, deputies of the Chechen parliament, and academics. The day of the deportation (23 February) has hitherto been officially commemorated in Chechnya each year, but this year for some reason commemorations were banned.

On 19 February the all-powerful head of the administration of the head of the Republic of Chechnya, Magomed Daudov, better known in Chechnya by his nickname ‘Lord’, called in a number of the organizers of the conference to see him. Kutaev also received a call to meet Daudov, but he refused to go, commenting fairly enough that Daudov was not his boss.

On 20 February Ruslan Kudaev called me in Moscow and told me of his conversation with Daudov, at the same time suggesting he might be arrested the same day. Two hours later, Kutaev was arrested at the house of his relatives in the village of Gekhi and was taken away in an unknown direction. During the course of the day his relatives did not know by whom or on what grounds he had been arrested, and where he had been taken.

On 21 February it became know that Kutaev was being held in a cell at Urus-Martan police station, and that he had been detained for possessing 3 grams of heroin that were discovered on his person AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST.

All of this is from the official account of events.

If one believes this version of events, then Ruslan Kutaev, expecting to be arrested after an impolite conversation with the all-powerful Daudov, puts in his pocket, instead of sunflower seeds, a packet with a large amount of a drug (apparently in order to use it for exchange in prison). The police who arrived somehow knew about Kutaev’s strange decision to carry in his pocket a little bag with heroin. They dragged Kutaev out of the house without even searching the premises or his person. He was put in a car still in his slippers and taken him away. Later an official police report appeared documenting the confiscation of heroin from Kutaev when he was outside his house, an absurd confession by Kutaev that he found the packet of heroin and ‘automatically put it in his pocket’, and also wide bruising that he had not had that morning. Can you believe this nonsense? I cannot.

I have a different interpretation.

I believe that Kutaev had no drugs on him whatsoever. The police did not even bother to plant them on him. He was simply detained and taken to Urus-Martan police station, where he was beaten, and then he was put in a police cell. At the same time, a false police report on the confiscation of heroin was made. For the time being, I do not take it upon myself to assert that this version of events is true, but only that it explains, in a very simple manner, the facts that we have. The Joint Mobile Group of the Committee Against Torture began an investigation into the circumstances of this very strange story, in which there are clear signs of torture having been committed and of the falsification of evidence for the purpose of unlawfully prosecuting a public figure. The investigation must establish who used physical violence against Kutaev, as a result of which he received the bruises, who falsified the official police report concerning the confiscation of narcotic substances, and other significant circumstances. Ruslan Kutaev has been given the assistance of experienced lawyers for his defence. Yesterday, 24 February, an appeal was lodged with the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic which listed the numerous and very serious violations of federal laws that took place during the Kutaev's arrest. The results of the investigation will be sent to the Presidential Human Rights Council, the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman, and also to the relevant law enforcement bodies." 

Source: Committee Against Torture