Lev Ponomarev: The FSB is setting fire to the Caucasus. A new story about masked men

2 April 2021

by Lev Ponomarev, human rights defender, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source:: Echo Moskvy]

Something unimaginable is happening before our very eyes in Dagestan: brutal looking blokes in masks and civilian clothing, with the support of the police, are getting ready to storm the car in which former policeman Ibragim Gadzhiev, his lawyer and … a member of the prosecutor’s office have been sitting for several hours.

On 31st March 2021, Gadzhiev was detained, or rather abducted, by some masked people, then tortured, facts which were later recorded in court. Yesterday, on 1st April, Gadzhiev was released following a court ruling, his detention declared unlawful. However, immediately thereafter, they tried to “detain” Gadzhiev once again. On the night of 2nd April, law enforcement officers blocked the car in which he, his lawyer and an employee of Khasavyurt prosecutor’s office were travelling. They have been there ever since, for several hours now. The forces are clearly not equal. By noon, heavy equipment had been brought in and they are getting ready to storm the vehicle. 

No grounds for Gadzhiev’s detention have been given. He is a witness in the case of former Makhachkala Police Chief Raip Ashikov, who is accused of financing terrorism. On 31st March, Gadzhiev was searched and then taken to court to be arrested for “disobeying the legal demands” of the police during the search. Irina Slavina taught us all too well that anything can happen to a witness. But Irina Slavina set herself on fire while here a Khasavyurt prosecutor has been sitting in the car for several hours.

Who are these masked militants, for whom there are no laws and whom the police obey? Is it really the FSB again? Why are they setting fire to the Caucasus?

Watch the video of Gadzhiev’s lawyer, Sapiyat Magomedova:

Translated by Nathalie Corbett

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