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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Amnesty: Chechens Tortured in Camps




Chechens held in a detention camp in Urus-Martan say they were raped and tortured by military guards, and released only after paying hundreds of dollars in bribes, according to a report issued Thursday by Amnesty International.


The human rights organization said two former inmates of the Internat "filtration camp," who were interviewed in neighboring Ingushetia, described atrocities committed from May 6 to 13. Amnesty International withheld the men's real names, calling them Zelimkhan and Nurdy instead.


"In the Internat, he [Zelimkhan] was brutally gang-raped by four or five OMON officers. Zelimkhan was blindfolded and handcuffed and ordered to lay on a table face down before being raped with wooden clubs and machine-gun butts," Amnesty International reported. He was then ordered to stand by the wall as the officers kicked him in his genitals.


"The rape and beatings continued for two hours. He was questioned by Vasily, the investigator who had ordered the rape, and asked to sign a confession that he was a Chechen fighter, which he refused," the report said.


"I heard one of them say: 'We will make you incapable of producing children,'" the report quoted Zelimkhan, 20, as saying.


When he was released several days later in exchange for $300, the officers forced him to sign a document saying that he had not been subjected to ill-treatment. Zelimkhan was hospitalized with numerous bruises to his chest, ribs and kidneys, as well as inflammation and infection of the genitals, the report said.


Zelimkhan said he had witnessed the beating of a 15-year-old Chechen boy, Timur, who was detained along with his uncle. Zelimkhan said the camp guards broke Timur's ribs while trying to get him to sign a document saying that his uncle is a Chechen fighter. Timur was released in exchange for $700, according to the report, which was released by Amnesty International's London office.


Zelimkhan confirmed the testimony of Nurdy, who said he was detained with two friends on allegations of hostage taking. Nurdy, whose age is not given, said he was beaten and tortured by a group of 15 officers. The report said he was treated at a hospital but the nature of his injuries was not given.


Both men said guards used electric shocks to torture prisoners.


"Detainees f men, women and children f are routinely and systematically ? raped, beaten with hammers and clubs, tortured with electric shocks and tear gas, their teeth are sawed and some are beaten around both ears simultaneously to burst the ear drums," Amnesty International said.


The filtration camp in Urus-Martan, southeast of Grozny, is one of several detention camps where federal troops keep people they suspect of cooperating with the rebels.


International human rights groups have published numerous reports of brutal treatment in these camps. The authorities are reluctant to allow observers from Amnesty International, the New York-based Human Rights Watch or other groups into Chechnya.


Although the government allowed United Nations envoy Mary Robinson to travel to Chechnya in April, she was not allowed to visit detention centers in Urus-Martan and Chernokozovo, a camp near the Chechen capital.