The Situation with Human Rights and Efforts of Society Consolidation

The Situation with Human Rights and Efforts of Society Consolidation

«New deal» of Magomedov?

The situation with human rights and efforts of society consolidation

in the Republic of Dagestan

March 2010 – March 2011

Summary of the Memorial Human Rights Center report

on the situationwith human rights

in the Republic of Dagestan

(March 2010 - March 2011)

Conflict history

Traditionally,population in the Republic of Dagestan (hereinafter referred to asRD)adheredSufismas a branch of Islam. Theyaccept secular power and are ready de facto considering religion asthe part of private life of people.

Since the end of the 20th centurynew religious movement for the Caucasus, such as Salafism or fundamental (radical) Islam began to spread extensively in the RD.Sometimes, Sufism is called Wahhabism.They are in favor of the supremacy of Islam norms in all spheresof public life;moreover, they deny the existence of secular power. Tenses between representatives of Sufism and Salafismexacerbates because the government is not neutral arbitrator in this conflict, but it supports one party of the conflict (Sufism). Police officers commit crimes against adepts of fundamental Islam, this causes exasperation of militants. As a result, they commit crimes againstcivilians who adhere toSufism.

This report containsthe situation analysis of human rights violationsin the RDand the authorities’attemptsto achieve the rule of law and consolidation of the society. The report consists of various parts.

I. «New deal» ofMagomedov

The main points ofthe political programmeof Magomedov (new President of the RDsince 2010) are the following: modernization of economy, change of the methods regarding the fight against terrorism, rule of law. The main obstacles are: the high level of corruption, undeveloped, subsidized economy, unemployment, poverty, terrorism, instability in the region. New policy is not supported and welcomed by both sides: armedmilitants continue their activity, and state defense and law enforcement agencies do not follow the rule of law and legal order.

II. Changes in personnel. Attempt of the elite consolidation

Changes in the composition of the Government of the RDdid not bring an efficient replacementof the political elite. From 14 members who worked in the previous Government, only 6 representatives saved their posts.The tradition of ethnic quotas was not breached by this appointment.According to this tradition, three main posts should be appointed by representatives of the three biggest ethnic groups.

III. Violation of human rightsby armed militants

23 crimes of terroristic nature were registered since the beginning of 2010in the RD; the number of assaults of the law enforcement agencies personnel is increased by 20%. As a result of these actions, 221 people are injured since January till the end of June, including78 dead, 143 wounded, among themare police officers, members of other security bodiesandcivilians.

In 2009,Russian law enforcement agencies andthe armylost a lot of staffin the result of terrorist attacks and fight against the militants(83 persons are killed, 110 are wounded). In 2010,159 were killedand 233 were wounded, consequently, the number of casualty is increased twice.There were casualties among civilians:

-On the beaches there were bomb explosions in the summer of 2010.

-The victims of the militants are also hunters, foresters and jaegers.

-During 2010, imams and other heads of Muslim Community were attacked.

-Folk healers and fortune-teller are also victims of militants, because according to them this activity is contrary to Islam.

-Militants interfere with the activity of businessmen, squeeze money from them.

IV. Violation of human rightsduring «counterterrorism operation»

Security agenciesfight against illegal militants, having breached international and national Russian law. Systematic grave violation of human rights by Security agencies create negative image of the state power. As a consequence,not only the victimsof illegal violence and their relatives but also population of the RD considers the state as cruel, unjust power.This enables spreading the extremist ideas and radicalization of the youth.

Security agenciesfought against militants, having violated human rights, including:

4.1. Kidnappings andforced disappearance of people. Illegal detention

The objects of these violations are people who adhere to Salafism (fundamental Islam). They are suspected of aiding and abetting for militants. Frequently victims are ordinary civilians, who do not adhere to Salafism. Investigation of these grave violations is not efficient.

4.2. Tortures. Human rights violation duringspecial-forces raids

Tortures are applied both in official organizations and in illegal places of detention, i.e.secret jails. In places of preliminary detention tortures are usedfor getting«confessionary statements» in committing crimes.In most cases,after kidnapping, when relativesdo not know the locationof the kidnappedand cannot provide him/heran independent lawyer, the detainee is tortured.Furthermore, ina few days, thepersonbecomes “legally detained”. It is done by:acknowledgment of guilt, orhaving staged repeated, already official detention, or they form official detentionwith retroactive effect. If, having the access to legal protection, the detaineerejects from the confession, he/she can be tortured again in order to “prove” his/her“guilt”.

Tortures are applied in order to get information. In this regard,the victims of tortures are relatives orfriends of militants;people who are, according to the security agencies «Wahabitte».During special-forces raids security agents endangerthe life of others, including womenand children. Many timescivilians were used as «human shield» which is forbidden by international humanitarian law.

4.3. Extrajudicial executions. Passivity ofinvestigating authority

As per the “modern trend”, during special-forces raids, security agents prefer to eliminate suspects immediately. Detention of suspect, collecting the evidence of guilt takes a lot of efforts and professionalism of examining officials. To eliminate a suspect is the easiest way for security agencies.

When fighting against terrorism, the state makes equal terrorism and fundamental Islam. Since to sentence a person for adherence to fundamental Islam is problematic because of freedom of religion which is enshrined in the Constitution, security agencies chose to eliminate them.

It is very difficult to prove that instead of detention the security agencies implemented extrajudicial executions because the witnesses are afraid to give testimonies.

4.4. Falsification of evidence during of criminal casesinvestigation

Broad applicability of falsification of evidence in relation to both crimes (terrorist and other character) is connected with lack of professionalism of the examining officials. The standard way of falsification is the following: security agencies choose a person, who will be a suspect of committing a crime. He/she is detained or kidnapped. He/she is tortured in order to get “acknowledgment of the guilt”. Firstofall, he/sheisdeprivedoflegalassistance. If the person is provided with a lawyer, this lawyer does not write claims against torture, does not demandmedical assistance for the detaineeormedical examinationof his/her health. During the first days of detention, the relatives do not know the location of detainee, that is why they cannot hire another lawyer. In any case,the lawyer has no access to the detainee before he/she signes “needful for security agencies” testimony.

In case of kidnapping, thedocuments of the suspect are filled is retroactively.After that, he/she is ready to recognize his/her “guilt” and is locatedto apre-trial detention center.This“guilt acknowledgment”becomestobetheonlyevidenceofguiltinthecourt.This practice of falsification of evidence is not onlycriminal, but also dangerous, because real criminals are still not found and not punished.

V. Other problems

-Abused discretion of police officers, which is applicable not only to terrorists, but also to other criminals;

-Bashing of advocates;

-Hate crimesbased on religion;

-Violation of citizens’ rights laid down in the Constitutiondepending on their beliefs;

-Violation of the principle of non-interference of the state in the religion related issues;

-Support by the power only one religious Muslim movement;

-The low level of religious education of the population;

-Poorsocio-economic status of the youth;


-Passivity of thecorrupted authorities.

In the conclusion it should be mentioned that despite the attempts of the authority to improve the situation with human rights in the RD, this problem is still not solved. The main obstacles for improving this situation are the following: lack of coordinationbetween security agencies and executive branch of power;inabilityof the Government to supervise the activity of law enforcements bodies, impunityof security agents, and the lack of the rule of law.