October 18th 2007 · Prague Watchdog / Umalt Chadayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Aushev family being subjected to pressure

By Umalt Chadayev

INGUSHETIA – Russian law enforcement officers have conducted a “mop-up” at the homes of relatives of the two Aushev cousins who were abducted by unidentified uniformed officials in Chechnya a month ago and released after a large-scale protest action held in Nazran by their families and loved ones.

According to information received from friends of the family, on the morning of October 10 several dozen soldiers who arrived in APCs and armoured UAZ-469 and UAZ-tabletka mini-vans blockaded two houses in the Nazranovsky district village of Surkhakhi where the Aushevs live. Entering the courtyard, they demanded to see the cousins’ identity documents, and then took down the details of everyone who was present at the location.

"The Aushevs don’t want to make it public. Perhaps they’re afraid there may be more provocations or attacks against their family,” Kureish, a 40-year-old village resident, believes. “Like all the other villagers here, I’m convinced that the soldiers won’t let them go. As General Lebed used to say, they’ve been accused of something, and now life is to be made impossible for them."

"People were really scared when the soldiers entered the village in their armoured vehicles – they were wearing masks, by the way. Now we’re getting reports that people have been beaten and arrested by them, and so on. And there’s a whole column of troops advancing on Surkhakhi! Everyone is quite angry about it, of course," says Lyuba, another resident.

"The soldiers have behaved politely enough for the most part, though it’s rather an odd expression to use in such a context. When they came to her house, one woman asked them: 'What you are looking for? Why are you frightening the children? (She had six young children at home at the time, the eldest of whom was only 12.) What do you want, anyway?' One of the soldiers said they were checking passports,” Aslambek Apayev, the Moscow Helsinki Groups expert on the North Caucasus, told Prague Watchdog.

"There was a young guy in the house, Magomed Aushev. He was recently involved in a car accident, and he has a broken hip. The soldiers not only checked his passport but also photographed every page of it. And they took down the details of the passports of everyone else who was in the house - mostly women - and then left. I’m convinced that this family is being subjected to pressure. After all, they were the only people in the village who had their passports checked. They don’t want to go public on what happened, because they’re seriously afraid that might have negative consequences for them. And there’s a currently a criminal investigation of the Aushevs’ abduction being conducted by the Chechen prosecutor’s office, " Apayev said.

On the afternoon of September 18, Magomed Osmanovich Aushev (25) and Magomed Maksharopovich Aushev (22) were captured on the outskirts of the Chechen capital and taken to an unknown destination by unidentified uniformed officers. Near the suburb of Chernorechye the car in which the Aushev cousins were travelling were stopped by three vehicles – a white Gazelle, a Zhiguli 10, and a Zhiguli 115. Men in camouflage uniform jumped out of them, dragged the Aushevs from the car, beat them up, then forced one of them into one of the vehicles and drove him away.


(Translation by DM)




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