Ingush Policeman Gets Eight Years in Jail Over Torture

Former Policeman Il’ez Nal’giev is to serve eight years in jail after the judge found him guilty of torturing Zelimkhan Chitigov. Mr. Nal’giev was deputy head of the ROVD (local police station) in the Ingush town of Karabulak. His former boss, the chief of Karabulak police, Mr. Nazir Guliev was acquitted of all charges in a decision that took the judge three months to prepare.

The Memorial Human Rights Centre and the Civic Assistance Committee consider Nal’giev’s sentence to be fair – it is was expected considered grave nature of the crime. On the other hand, his former boss’s acquittal is deeply disappointing. It is unlikely that Nal’giev was the only police officer responsible for torture. While he might have come up with the idea or gave the order that led to torture in his police station, the officers who carried out the order should also be held accountable, Memorial and Civic Assistance believe.

Zelimkhan Chitigov (pictured) was one of a group of suspects detained on April 27, 2010, on charges of bombing of the Karabulak ROVD in which Il’ez Nal’giev’s brother died. Chitigov was taken to the police station and tortured for four days in a row. Having survived the torture, he was rescued by his family members. By that time he was unable to speak, his ear was damaged leading to hearing loss, and his sight deteriorated as a result of electrocution. He also had multiple burns on his body.

Chitigov was taken to the hospital and, as the treatment commenced, had to spend nine months in a wheelchair.

“We are deeply disappointed by Guliev’s acquittal,” said Memorial board member Svetlana Gannushkina who heads the Civic Assistance Committee. She and her colleagues were instrumental in bringing the Karabulak policemen to justice. “We are confident that Guliev deserves a serious sentence for his complacency in torture and inhumane treatment.”

Civic Assistance’s Elena Burtina, who followed the case in the courtroom, agreed. Elena Burtina pointed out that “Guliev made threats against Zelimkhan Chitigov’s lawyer and family. He refused to tell the family where Zelimkhan was while the latter was tortured, although he certainly knew where Zelimkhan was held. In other words, Guliev knew everything about what was going on and should be held accountable for the wrongdoing committed by his former deputy.”

Now, after his acquittal, Mr. Guliev has a right to rehabilitation, meaning he can be restored in his position as the Karabulak police chief. This may entail serious danger to both his subordinates and colleagues and lead to an increase in the level of violence in Ingushetia. The former policeman was accused of wrongdoing committed against both civilians and his former subordinates, members of the local police force.

“Initially, Guliev put a stake on his family ties with Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov,” Mrs. Gannushkina says. Mr. Guliev’s wife is the Ingush President sister-in-law. “Later his stance changed, though, and he accused the leadership of the republic of trying to get rid of him after he investigated an oil fraud that allegedly happened with the participation of the Ingush leadership. Having said that, now that he had been acquitted, the sentence will likely be seen as the authorities pressure on the judiciary,” Svetlana Gannushkina believes.

Courtesy of: Memorial

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