Week-ending 26 February 2021
“At the moment, we can assert that Russia has not fulfilled its obligations, at least in terms of admitting independent lawyers and doctors to Salekh and Ismail: we have no information that independent doctors actually examined Salekh and Ismail. The tour around police stations, which the Chechen police officers arranged for us, can in no way be considered the admission of independent lawyers. Also, we do not know anything about the legal grounds for the detention of Salekh and Ismail in Nizhny Novgorod. The officers of the Nizhny Novgorod police sent a written confirmation to Alexander Nemov that the detention was carried out by police officers from Gudermes, but the reasons for the detention in this format are not clear to us. The young men’s father, Mr. Isaev, told me that he had seen marks of plastic handcuffs on Salekh and Ismail’s wrists and that their passports had been taken away. And even though the procedure for bringing witnesses exists and is regulated by Article 113 of the Criminal Procedure Code, what happened to Ismail and Salekh in Nizhny Novgorod is, at the very least, a strange format for applying this procedure in practice.”
– Veronika Lapina, human rights activist, Russian LGBT Network
Source: ‘Magamadov and Isaev, detained in Nizhny Novgorod, remain in custody in SIZO No. 2 in the city of Grozny. Earlier they were brought to Chechnya as witnesses, now they are accused of complicity with illegal armed groups,’ Russian LGBT Network, 24 February 2021.
RFE/RL, 24 February 2021: Chechnya’s top court has ruled that the arrest of two young gay men was legal amid growing concern over their safety and lack of legal representation in the North Caucasus region know for abuses against LGBT people. The court ruling on February 24 comes after Salekh Magamadov, 18, and a 17-year-old companion were abducted by security agents earlier in the month from Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia and driven back to Chechnya. RFE/RL is not revealing the identity of the second teenager because he is a minor. The two are accused of providing food to an illegal armed group and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. They are currently being held in pretrial detention. According to the Russian LGBT Network, a rights group, the young men were forced to sign statements and testimonies under threats and pressure.