The Moscow-based Novaya gazeta newspaper on February 15 published official documents it says prove that many of the people allegedly killed in extrajudicial executions in Chechnya in 2017 had been detained by local police.
Novaya gazeta reported in 2017 that 27 detained individuals had been summarily executed in late January that year.
Chechen authorities have denied the individuals in question had ever been arrested, while the Investigative Committee rejected Novaya gazeta’s request to launch an investigation into the allegations.
The North Caucasus region of Chechnya is controlled by Kremlin-installed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov. Its security forces have been accused of gross human rights abuses for many years, including abductions, torture, and killings.
Citing documents Novaya gazeta said were obtained from the Chechen Interior Ministry, the newspaper reported on February 15 that the 27 were detained during a special operation following an attack against police officers in Grozny in December 2016.
In April 2017, Novaya gazeta officially handed to the Investigative Committee the list of the 27 people and additional three men who, according to the newspaper, were also killed by the Chechen police during a campaign against gays in February 2017 in the region.
Investigators only confirmed that four men from the list had deceased, and two other men were announced as being alive.
However, Novaya gazeta said in its latest investigative report that the two in fact were brothers of two executed men identified as Mokhma Muskiyev and Shamkhan Yusupov.
The report also alleged that several men detained in Chechnya in January 2017 were pressured by local law enforcement to “take an oath of loyalty to the Islamic State [extremist group]” in front of cameras and then forced to denounce the extremist group.
The newspaper suggested that the videos were later used to declare the men as terrorists.