A "confession" due to severe torture – the Society for Threatened Peoples is concerned about Ruslan Kutaev

Chechen human rights activist on trial (April 25, 2014)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) expressed worries concerning Ruslan Kutaev, the Chechen human rights defender. On Friday, he will have to appear before a court in the Chechen town of Urus-Martan for the alleged possession of eight grams of heroin. However, human rights activists who were able to visit him in detention testified that he was tortured and thus forced to confess.

Kutaev has an impeccable reputation: in 1997, during the war in Chechnya, he advocated for Russian soldiers to be released from Chechen detention centers and had recently worked together with the Russian representative of Human Rights Watch and the Helsinki Federation.

According to the Russian human rights organization "Committee against Torture", Kutaev was abducted from his brother's house after a conference focusing on the collective deportation of the Chechens and Ingush by Stalin on February 23, 1944. In police custody, he was beaten by the Deputy Interior Minister of Chechnya, Apti Alaudinov and the Chechen Prime Minister Magomed Daudov. Then, he was taken to a cellar room where he was tortured with electric shocks, trying to force him to sign several documents. He refused – and was tortured again and again, until he was finally prepared to sign just about anything, including that he would not mention the suffering inflicted upon him. By that time, two of his ribs had been broken.

Kutaev is convinced that he was arrested because of his courageous presentation at the conference. Previously, the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov had decided that no commemorations should take place on February 23, the historic date of the collective deportation of the Chechens and the Ingush. In 2014, the official commemoration will thus (for the first time) take place on May 10, the anniversary of the death of his father. Kadyrov had also ordered Gozny's memorial site for February 23, 1944, to be dismantled. It commemorates the fact that a third of the Ingush and Chechen people died during the deportation to Central Asia.