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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechens Feel the Heat in Post-Siege Moscow

A hunt by Moscow police for accomplices of the hostage-takers has left some ethnic Chechens unable to work and at least one family without a place to live.

The presidential humans rights commission on Tuesday promised to monitor the police for human rights violations in the aftermath of the theater siege.

Chechens, who spoke on condition their surnames not be used, said Tuesday that police officers have been checking their apartments and businesses for the past few days and extorting bribes.

"The police are demanding too many bribes now," said Bedredi, 49, a driver who delivers food to outdoor markets in a rented truck. "I paid 1,100 rubles in one day and decided to stop working. They stop me upon seeing my appearance, and when they realize that I am permanently registered as living in Grozny, they simply refuse to return my documents without a bribe. Some ask for 1,000 rubles. And I have not broken any law."

Markha, who has lived in Moscow for 10 years, said police came to her apartment early Monday and detained her husband and brother, who are construction workers. Markha, 40, hid her son, a 21-year-old student at one of the city's universities, on the balcony.

The two men were released the same day after being fingerprinted, but the brother, who doesn't have a Moscow residency permit, was told to return to Chechnya within three days, Markha said.

Zara, 49, who fled Argun during military strikes, said she was thrown out of her apartment Monday because her landlords "didn't want Chechens anymore."

She said her family of five was struggling to find a place to live. She said potential landlords were hanging up after hearing her Chechen accent on the telephone.

The police visited the apartment of prominent Chechen lawyer Abdullah Khamzayev on Saturday, as well as the relatives of Chechen businessman Malik Saidullayev, Vremya Novostei reported. They checked the men's papers and left, the newspaper said.

Chechen businessman Sultan Didiyev was not so fortunate. Police officers visited his office on Ulitsa Udaltsova in southwestern Moscow on Tuesday and shut it down, saying he lacked the proper business papers, Interfax said. The report did not specify his business.

Three Chechen employees of a Moscow auto shop were detained and taken to a police station Friday. They were told to admit to having either ammunition or drugs, and when they declined to 'confess' to having either, they had weapons planted on them, a representative of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration told NTV television on Tuesday.

The number of people detained in the search for the hostage-takers' accomplices was not clear. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said Tuesday that "tens" of suspects have been detained.

A Moscow police officer, reached by telephone, said city police were not keeping track of those detained on suspicion they could have played a role in organizing the hostage taking.

Staff Writer Simon Saradzhyan contributed to this report.