Memorial says Rasul Kudaev is a political prisoner

posted 10 Feb 2014, 23:05 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Feb 2014, 23:07 ]
6 February 2014

Source: (info)
Rasul Vladimirovich Kudaev is one of the defendants in the case of the attack on government buildings in Nalchik in Kabardino-Balkaria on 13 October 2005 (known as the ‘case of the 58’ after then number of defendants, which is being heard by the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria. The prosecution has asked that Kudaev be sentenced to life in prison.

Kudaev was a prisoner in Guantanamo. In 2001 US military personnel seized him in Afghanistan. In 2004 together with other Russian prisoners at Guantanamo, Kudaev was handed over to the Russian authorities without charges being brought by the Americans.

After returning home to Nalchik, Kudaev was treated for the injuries and many illnesses he had contracted in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. In October 2005 Rasul Kudaev was arrested.

He was charged with heading an illegal armed group that took part on 13 October in the attack on a police post. Kudaev was tortured. His complaint regarding the torture is currently being considered by the European Court of Human Rights.

From the time of his arrest until the present, Rasul Kudaev has been in detention.

In 2006 at an exhibition organized by the Sakharov Museum and Public Center and a number of other human rights groups including Memorial Human Rights Centre, Rasul Kudaev was spoken of as a political prisoner.

Since 2010 a programme run by the Memorial Human Rights Centre regularly updates a list of political prisoners in Russia today. The question of whether Rasul Kudaev should be included in this list was postponed until the moment when Memorial is in possession of all the eveidence presented at the trial, both by the prosecution and the defence.

On 10 January 2014 the last hearing in the ‘case of the 58’ took place in Nalchik before the announcement of the judgment. In order to prepare its judgment, the court announced a recess of almost two months. The judgment will be handed down on 30 June 2014.

Having in its possession all the necessary materials of the case, Memorial Human Rights Centre has again reviewed the case of Rasul Kudaev and has concluded that , according to the criteria adopted by a number of human rights organizations, Rasul Kudaev without doubt should be classified as a political prisoner.

Rasul Kudaev has an alibi that numerous and very different witnesses confirm. The condition of his health evidently would not have made it possible for him to take part in the attack on Nalchik. All the defendants who testified against Kudaev in the initial stages of the investigation, in court withdrew their testimony on the grounds that they had been forced to testify as they did and that torture had been used against them. The use of torture against many of the defendants has been proven.

The political motivation for the prosecution of Kudaev is seen in the creation of a foreign connection with the actions of Islamic militants in the North Caucasus.

Information on the case with full explanation of the reasons why Kudaev has been recognized as a political prisoner can be read on the website of the Memorial Human Rights Centre.

Memorial Human Rights Centre points out that finding Rasul Kudaev to be a political prisoner in no way means that we consider the conclusions of the prosecution with regard to all the other defendants in the trial of the 58 to be well-founded.

The materials collecte by Memorial Human Rights Centre on the trial of those suspected of attacking government buildings in Nalchik on 14 October 2005 can also be read on the website of the Memorial Human Rights Centre.