. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Amnesty Critical on Chechnya

Amnesty International said human rights abuses remained rife last year in Chechnya, police stations and prisons, while some progress was made in reducing domestic violence against women.

Federal security forces and forces loyal to Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration "continued to enjoy impunity for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law," Amnesty International said in its 2003 human rights report.

It noted, however, that large-scale military raids appeared to have decreased in Chechnya.

The report accused Chechen rebels of continued violations, including an increased number of bombings that "caused indiscriminate harm to civilians."

The criticism over Chechnya largely reiterated what Amnesty International said in its previous report, for 2002. "The topics are the same," Sergei Nikitin, director of Amnesty International's Russian Resource Center, said Thursday.

But the latest report noted that violence spread last year from Chechnya to the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.

Among other abuses, Amnesty International said racially motivated attacks remained widespread, as did police torture and mistreatment to extract confessions from detainees. Although the overall number of inmates has decreased, prisons remain overcrowded, the report said. Pretrial detention facilities also have not improved, and conditions in many of them "amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

The report also mentioned the discrimination against Meskhetians in the Krasnodar region, who have been denied Russian citizenship since 1992 on grounds of ethnicity.

The report highlighted some improvements. Domestic violence against women decreased in some regions after nongovernmental organizations that defend women's rights began to cooperate with local authorities, it said.

Amnesty International welcomed the release on parole of journalist Grigory Pasko in January 2003, but called for his name to be cleared. Pasko was sentenced in 2001 to four years in prison on treason charges that he says were retribution for his reports of Navy corruption and environmental abuses.