Zubajraev case: torture and ill-treatment

Jeremy Putley has forwarded the following messages from Russian human rights worker Oksana Chelysheva:

Case RUS 190209
Torture and other forms of ill-treatment/ Fear for safety

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the torture and other forms of ill-treatment suffered by Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev, 30-year-old Chechen, currently detained in penitentiary colony ЯР-154/15 (also known as LIU-125 prison hospital) in Volgograd, Southern Russia. 

According to the information received, in August 2007, Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev was sentenced to five years in high security prison and sent to prison colony IAR- 154/25 in Frolovo, Volgograd region, where he was tortured by prison colony officers throughout the period he was held there. The acts of torture included severe beatings, also with full plastic bottles, electroshocks, injection of unknown substances, nailing to the ground and having to stand in the snow with bear feet. He was also placed on several occasions in a punishment cell. 

Following complaints on Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev’s situation, he was reportedly admitted to the prison hospital (penitentiary colony ЯР-154/15) in February 2008, where he is still currently being detained. However, according to the same information, instead of receiving adequate medical care and treatment, he was again subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including beatings, allegedly by the chief of the penitentiary colony and his deputy. Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev was also reportedly threatened with psychiatric internment. 

In November 2008, the Volgograd regional prosecutor inspected the prison hospital but reportedly found no fault with the prison authorities. 

According to the same information received, Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev’s health is extremely poor and, due to several head injuries, he might be suffering from epilepsy. Moreover, he would have several wounds on his leg that do not heal. 

His family has reportedly recently received threats, including by a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, for having denounced his conditions on several occasions. OMCT fears for its safety. 

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev following the reports of continuous torture and other forms of ill-treatment and lack of adequate medical care. OMCT therefore calls on the authorities to guarantee his safety at all times, as well as to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these reports, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law. OMCT recalls the absolute prohibition of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and recalls article 11 of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment stipulating that, “Each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment in any territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of torture”.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Russia urging them to: 

Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev as well as of his family;
Guarantee unconditional access to his lawyer and his family, as well as guarantee that Mr. Zubajr Isaevich Zubajraev is examined by independent doctors and receives adequate medical care, in accordance with provisions of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;
Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the reports of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
Order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or if such charges exist, bring him before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee his procedural rights at all times;
Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Faxes:+ 7 495 206 5173 / 230 2408, Email: president@gov.ru;
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Yuri Chayka, 125993, Moskva K-31, Ul. B. Dimitrovka, d 15a, Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 (495)692-17-25;
Chairwoman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax: +7 495 20 64 855;
Vladimir Lukin, Russian Federal Ombudsman for Human Rights, Fax: +7 495 207-74-70;
Minister of Internal Affairs, Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 495 237 49 25;
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram:  Fax:+ 7 495 230 21 30;
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva Av. de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, e-mail : mission.russian@ties.itu.int, fax: +4122 734 40 44;

Zubair Zubairaev has again reportedly been severely beaten on both 18 and 24 February. On a recent visit to the prison his lawyer saw the marks from the beatings on his face and has stated that Zubair Zubairaev’s health has been gravely affected. Wounds on his legs from previous alleged beatings and incidents of torture are not healing and are festering. He is not receiving adequate medical care. After the most recent incidents he was placed in an isolation cell as punishment for allegedly possessing a painkilling tablet.
In August 2007 Zubair Zubairaev was sentenced to five years in a high security prison and sent to prison colony IAR-154/25 in Frolovo, Volgograd region. According to sources close to Zubair Zubairaev, he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated by prison colony officers throughout the period he was held there. This included the use of electric shocks. The sources reported that he was also repeatedly beaten with plastic bottles filled with water, as well as with truncheons and rifle butts, until he fainted, after which guards revived him in order to continue the beatings. No medical help was provided and the injuries he received were not recorded.
After making several complaints about being tortured and ill-treated, Zubair Zubairaev was transferred to prison colony No 9 in Volgograd. In February 2008 he was admitted to prison hospital LIU-15 in Volgograd; however, the beatings and other ill-treatment from the prison officers continued. Zubair Zubairaev complained again about his treatment to the authorities. This resulted in an inspection of the prison hospital in October 2008 by the Volgograd regional prosecutor, which, however, found no fault with the prison authorities.
Officials at the prison, as well as an official from the Volgograd Public Prosecutor’s office, are said to have verbally threatened Zubair Zubairaev that if he does not stop complaining about his treatment in detention, his prison sentence will be extended or he might “accidentally” die in prison. They also made threats against his family, saying “something might happen” to his sisters.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Amnesty International regularly receives reports of torture or other ill-treatment in places of detention across the Russian Federation, including in prison colonies, and of the frequent failure of the authorities to investigate effectively such allegations and to bring those suspected of violations to justice. In February 2007, the UN Committee against Torture expressed its concern regarding the inadequate health care provided to people in pre-trial detention centres and prison colonies.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Russian, English or your own language:
– calling on prison authorities to ensure immediately that Zubair Zubairaev is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, including psychological;
– calling for an immediate, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture or other ill-treatment and threats against Zubair Zubairaev and his family, with the results made public and those found responsible brought to justice;
– expressing concern at reports that Zubair Zubairaev is still not receiving the medical treatment he needs;
– urging that Zubair Zuibairaev is examined by independent doctors and receives all necessary medical care, in accordance with provisions set out in the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

APPEALS TO:
Director of the prison colony IAR-154/15:
Mansvetov Andrei Igorevich
Uchrezhdenie IAR-154/15
400048 Volgograd
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 8442 35 57 00
Salutation: Dear Director

Director of the Federal Service for Execution of Sentences :
Yurii Ivanovich Kalinin
Federal Service for Execution of Sentences
Ul. Zhitnaia, 14
119991 GSP-1, Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 982 1930
Salutation: Dear Director

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation :
Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika
Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Ul. Bolshaia Dmitrovka 15a
125 993 Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 692 1725 (fax may be switched off outside of office hours (four hours ahead of GMT)
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

COPIES TO:

Ombudsperson for Human Rights of the Russian Federation :
Vladimir Petrovich Lukin
Miasnitskaia ul. 47
107084 Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 495 60739 77
Salutation: Dear Ombudsperson

Prosecutor of Volgograd région :
Leonid Leontievich Beliak
Pr.Lenina, 8
400066 Volgograd
Russian Federation
Email: pochtaproc@vlpost.ru
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

Ambassade de la Fédération de Russie
Avenue De Fré 66,
1180 Bruxelles
Fax : 02.374.26.13
Email : amrusbel@skynet.be

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 14 April.

From: Oksana Chelysheva [mailto:o.chelysheva@gmail.com]
Sent: 20 March 2009 16:11
To: Jeremy Putley
Subject: Fwd: a case in Volgograd

Dear Jeremy,

I am sending the news below for your information. I have known Elena Maglevannaja for three years.
On March 20, 2009, the administration of Volgograd-based detention colony LIU-15 lodged a suit against a human rights defenders and a journalist Elena Maglevannaja. The administration is discontent with Elena’s effort to draw attention to the desperate situation of one of the inmates of this colony, an ethnic Chechen Zubajr Zubajraev. The suit is lodged under article 152 of the Russian Civil Code (honour and business reputation protection). They are accusing Elena of spreading information on Zubajr Zubajraev in order to destroy their good name. I talked to Elena on phone today. She tells that the first court hearing has been scheduled for March 26, Thursday. It will be held in Kirovskiy district court of Volgograd by the judge Asatiani.
Elena Maglevannaja also told about torture that Zubajraev was subjected to during his custody (including nailing his feet to the floor which was proved by photos) and subsequent denial of medical treatment. Maglevannaja also assisted in organizing the visit of a Chechen activist Imran Ejiev who came to Volgograd on behalf of a member of the European Parliament Bart Staes. Numerous signs of ill-treatment and torture were documented during that visit.
Elena Maglevannaja told on phone, “I am going to use the court room as just one possibility to speak up for Zubajr”. In her words, she is going to prove that the staff of the colony beats him up and then accuses him “of smashing his head against the wall”.
On 10 February, in the Moscow-located Independent Press center a press conference was held during which the situation of Zubajraev was raised. Imran Ejiev, Zubajraev’s sister Madina, Lev Ponomarjov (the leader of “For Human Rights” movement). Svetlana Gannushkina participated in that press conference. A few days after it, information came that the Zubajraevs sisters were subjected to threats on the train during their trip back to Grozny.
Zubajr Zubajraev fled Russia with his family during war hostilities. They got asylum in Austria. But in 2007 they family decided to return to Chechnya. Soon after their return, Zubajraev was detained by local force agents. He was missing for some period as his relatives didn’t know anything about his whereabouts.
In August 2007 Zubajraev was sentenced to five years in custody “for assault at a force agent and illegal arms possession”. He was transferred to serve his sentence in Volgograd colony. When he managed to reach his sisters, he told that he was continuously beaten up.
The case of Zubajr Zubajraev was raised by Amnesty International and World Organizations against Torture. However, it has not changed for the better.
Oksana Chelysheva

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