Person of the Week: Salman Tepsurkaev – Investigative Committee refuses to investigate his disappearance and torture

Week-ending 30 October 2020

On 27 October 2020 the Investigative Committee refused to initiate a criminal investigation regarding the kidnapping and torture of Salman Tepsurkaev, moderator of the 1Adat Telegram channel.

Caucasian Knot reported on Wednesday, 28 October 2020:

The Department for Chechnya of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) has refused to initiate a case on the kidnapping of Salman Tepsurkaev, the moderator of the “1Adat” Telegram Channel, stating that there was no crime, the Committee against Torture (CaT) has reported today. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that in September, a video in which naked Salman Tepsurkaev sat on a bottle, explaining that he is doing this as a punishment for cooperation with the 1Adat Telegram Channel, which criticized the Chechen authorities, caused a wide resonance in Chechnya and beyond. Tepsurkaev never got in touch with his relatives. The CaT released a video showing some people taking Tepsurkaev away from a hotel in the city of Gelendjik. Only on October 27, the CaT’s rights defenders received a notification that the Chechen branch of the ICRF had refused, 12 days earlier, to open an inquiry into Tepsurkaev’s disappearance, the CaT has stated. The refusal to investigate will be appealed against, said Dmitry Piskunov, the head of the North-Caucasian branch of the CaT. “In the case of Tepsurkaev, the investigator had decided that there was no crime event as such. But in order to come to this conclusion, the investigator had to obtain some confirmed information about Salman’s whereabouts: he had to either interview him or his relatives, who would have said that Salman’s whereabouts were known to them. Of course, immediately after receiving the text of the refusal, we’ll appeal against it,” Mr Piskunov has promised.

Since the kidnapping, disappearance and torture of Salman Tepsurkaev, there are fears that two other men detained early in October in Rostov-on-Don may be facing the same fate. Caucasian Knot reported on Tuesday, 27 October 2020:

The detentions of Adam Dotmerzaev and Musa Ashakhanov during their trip to Rostov-on-Don continued the trend of detention of fellow countrymen by Chechen law enforcers beyond the republic, despite the practice of interaction with the regional law enforcement bodies. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that on October 4, Adam Dotmerzaev and Musa Ashakhanov, residents of the village of Samashki in the Achkhoi-Martan District of Chechnya, were detained in Rostov-on-Don. When relatives learned that the detainees had been transported to Achkhoi-Martan, they managed to hand over a parcel for them, but when they complained about the detention of their family members to the Prosecutor’s Office, law enforcers denied that Adam Dotmerzaev and Musa Ashakhanov were being kept at their place, the Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial” reported on October 20. According to a source of the HRC “Memorial”, Adam Dotmerzaev and Musa Ashakhanov are still being kept in Achkhoi-Martan and are being subjected to torture. So, on September 6, Salman Tepsurkaev was kidnapped from a hotel in the city of Gelendzhik. A hotel employee told the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent that some people came for Salman Tepsurkaev, and one of them showed a hotel receptionist an ID of a law enforcement body’s agent. On September 30, Mikhail Galperin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), stated that Salman Tepsurkaev had not been detained by law enforcers and had not been subjected to ill-treatment. Human rights defenders and activists of the 1Adat Movement treated the Mr Galperin’s statement as unconvincing and explained that they had recognized the law enforcers involved in the kidnapping of Salman Tepsurkaev.

Leave a Reply