Memorial Human Rights Centre: Grozny residents complain of detentions of men with beards.

posted 17 Feb 2015, 12:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Feb 2015, 12:22 ]
12 February 2015

Source: (info

On the morning of 11th February the Grozny office of Memorial Human Rights Centre received a call from a man who said that security forces personnel had beaten up a young man near the mosque situated in the Berkat market.

Staff of the Memorial Human Rights Centre went to the location. About 10 armed personnel wearing camouflage were spreading through the market. Nearby stood a jeep and a van in which they had arrived.

Visitors to the market told the Memorial staff that the security service agents were stopping young people with beards and shaved moustaches, they were interested in why they had removed their moustaches and if they didn’t like the answer, they took them away.

In the words of one eye witness, one lad who was quite young said that his moustache just doesn’t grow anyway. Whether they took him away or not, the woman didn’t know.

Another lad was at a loss when they asked him about his moustache. They asked him about which teaching of which imam, teacher he follows, which of them he reveres) but he also couldn’t find an answer to this question. In the words of the witness, the security service agents took him away.

Similarly visitors to the market said that they beat up one lad. He did not want to leave his brother whom the security service agents were trying to take away.

Women at the market were outraged: “Previously we used to throw ourselves under tanks to defend our children, but today we can see how they are taken away from us right under our noses.”

Someone suggested that these events had been sparked by an incident which happened recently in Khosi-Yurt (Tsentoroi, birth place of the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov). On 10th February via the mobile messenger WhatsApp a photograph of a fence was circulated on which there was pictured the black flag of ISIS with the words ‘Khosi-Yurt in support of ISIS’.

According to unverified information, after this Kadyrov sacked a few officials in anger (including some from the top echelons) and police ministry employees who came from Khosi-Yurt and Kurchaloevsky districts. However, the dismissals were later annulled.

On his Instagram account Kadyrov wrote the following: “As an example I related (at a meeting with Chechen republic police offiicals) the commendable action of the officers from Tsentoroi who, having learned that on the village outskirts someone had been drawing Wahhabite symbols, submitted application for leave with their subsequent resignation. They immediately undertook the search for the “artists”. The officers stated that they would not return to their duties if they did not find and bring to book those who took it into their heads to do these “drawings” in Tsentoroi. They found them in less than a few days. They established all the circumstances. And the whole village gathered at the stadium to express their support for them and gratitude for their decisive actions and principles. I am very grateful to them for this and have asked the minister Ruslan Alkhanov to annul their resignations.”

On 12th February it was reported that those arrested at the marketplace had been released. 

Translated by Frances Robson