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Victor Kazimir, Chechen Branch of the FSB
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Via facsimile +7(495) 625-05-78
Vienna, 13 April 2006
Open Letter regarding the Kidnapping of Bulat Chilaev, Driver for Civic Assistance Committee, and Aslan Israilov in Sernovodsk on 9 April 2006
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights is gravely concerned over the recent abduction of Bulat Chilaev and Aslan Israilov in the neighborhood of the village of Sernovodsk in Sunzha district of the Chechen Republic.
On 9 April 2006, near the village of Sernovodsk, servicemen of unidentified law enforcement agencies kidnapped Bulat Chilaev (born 1979), resident of Sernovodsk, and Aslan Israilov (born 1980?), resident of Grozny. Despite efforts of their relatives and human rights defenders, no information as to their fate and whereabouts has been obtained. To note, Bulat Chilaev works as a driver for the Civic Assistance Committee (prominent Russian humanitarian and human rights NGO headed by Svetlana Gannushkina, member of President Putin’s Council for Human Rights and Civic Society Development) within the framework of their medical aid program in Sernovodsk.
The kidnapping was perpetrated against the backdrop of the following circumstances:
On 8 April 2006, at around 9 pm, the three brothers Timur (born 1982), Artur (born 1987) and Arsen Shamilev (born 1986), were shot dead by unknown persons in Timur’s car. Timur was a staff-member of the Anti-terrorist Center in Grozny and prior to that had worked at the Sunzha District Police Department.
After the aforesaid murder, early in the morning on 9 April, a large mop-up operation was started in Sernovodsk through joint efforts of Russian Federation Interior Troops, Federal Security Service, and personnel of local enforcement agencies. In the course of that operation, Aslan Israilov, who came from Grozny to visit his relatives in Sernovodsk, was detained and promptly released following an identity check. Then, Israilov decided to return to Grozny and asked Bulat Chilaev to give him a lift. In Chilaev’s car (VAZ 2107), they drove from the village out to the federal high-way “KAVKAZ”, where their vehicle was immediately blocked by several unidentified armed and masked servicemen . According the witnesses of the incident, the Russian and Chechen law enforcement officials seized Chilaev and Israilov, tied their hands, beat them up, forced them into a “VAZ-2112” car - Israilov into the trunk and Chilaev on the back seat between two servicemen - and drove away in the direction of Grozny. Three other servicemen followed them in Chilaev’s car.
Relatives of the kidnapped contacted the Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen Republic, the Chechen branch of the Federal Security Service, the Chechen Ministry of the Interior and other governmental agencies. To the present, all the relevant authorities have denied responsibility for the detention of Chilaev and Israilov. Also, they have not been able or willing to provide any information about their current condition and place of detention.
The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, therefore strongly requests the relevant federal and local authorities to undertake a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into the abduction of Bulat Chilaev and Aslan Israilov , and either immediately release both individuals or bring official charges against them and inform their respective families of their situation.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns.
Council of Europe, Mr. Erik Jurgens, PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights; Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Manfred Nowak
European Union, Personal Representative for Human Rights in the area of Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP), Mr Michael Matthiessen
European Parliament, EU-Russia Parliamentary Co-operation Committee; Subcommittee on Human Rights
ICRC sub-delegation in Nalchik
National Helsinki Committees