“Absolute hooliganism”: what is known about the attack on journalists in the Caucasus

The attack on the border

An attack on employees of the Committee for the prevention of torture (CPT) and journalists happened in the evening of 9 March. In the car, EN route from Ingushetia to Chechnya, there were eight people: spokesman CPT Ivan Zhiltsov, international lawyer Catherine Venclova, correspondent of the Norwegian edition of Ny Tid Eystein Vindstad, Maria Persson Lofgren of “Swedish radio”, the correspondent of “media zones” Egor Skovoroda, the New Times journalist Alexandra Elagina, photographer Michael Solunin, ex-employee of Kommersant Anton Prusakov and driver Bashir Pliev.

As told the correspondent of “media zones” Egor Skovoroda, about 500 meters from the traffic police post on the border with Chechnya near the former settlement of Ordzhonikidzevskaya their minivan clipped several cars of unknown brands which left more than ten people in masks and with sticks, reminiscent of flagpoles.

“They ran up to our car and began beating on it with sticks, shouting: “Go, terrorists!” Then they pulled us over and started beating already there. In the end, they burned our car and drove off back to Chechnya,” said Pan. He stressed that people in masks, beating defenders and journalists chanted: “You terrorists! You protect terrorists! You help the murderers of my father!”

According to Fryer, the machine Committee for the prevention of torture were monitored on 8 and 9 March: first followed by a tinted Mercedes, then a silver “Lada-Priora” with the license plate В504АТ95, in which sat two men, one of whom was the radio. After the attack, unknown persons drove off in the direction of Chechnya.

According to Norwegian journalist øystein vindstad beside, the attackers were 15-20 people. “It was horrible. I thought I would die. I thought I need one last time to say goodbye to his wife,” said Vindstad in interview to the newspaper Aftenposten. “When we approached the border with Chechnya, we overtook three cars and a bus pulled to the curb. From cars left a lot of men with long sticks. After that, they broke all your Windows, windscreens and began to pull out everyone who was in the minibus,” added Vindstad. According to the Norwegian Embassy, at vindstad beside broken teeth and leg in plaster.

The Reaction Scandinavia

The Ministry of foreign Affairs of Norway is unlikely to make a formal protest to the Russian authorities, since it is unknown who is responsible for the attack, said the chief editor of Ny Tid Trolls Leah. In conversation with he noticed that on Thursday he talked with representatives of the Norwegian Union of journalists — they are ready to protest and will demand a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances of the attack. According to him, the injured journalist Eystein Vindstad from December studied the history of Chechen refugees, while the Northern Caucasus he came at the invitation of the Committee for the prevention of torture.

The representative of the “Swedish radio” Eva Salina are unable to answer the question , what actions it intends to take the company in connection with the attack on a Moscow journalist. In the Swedish Foreign Ministry said earlier that you know about the incident.

It is the Ministry of internal Affairs

The victims were taken by law enforcement bodies of Ingushetia. Journalists from Norway and Sweden, lawyer CAT and burnt the driver of the minibus was taken to the Sunzha Central district hospital. According to the “Caucasian knot” with reference to the chief physician of the Sunzhenskiy district hospital to Raihan Seinaroev, they are still in the hospital. Others were brought to the police station and interviewed.

The police opened a criminal case on part 2 article 213 of the criminal code (hooliganism) and article 167 of the criminal code (deliberate destruction of property). The investigation is conducted by the ri POLICE. In the offices of the TFR and the interior Ministry of Ingushetia, as well as in the Central office of the TFR are unable to respond quickly to requests and to explain why the actions of attackers were qualified for these articles. The Federal interior Ministry for the inquiry stated that the Minister of internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev instructed to “take comprehensive measures for establishment and detention of persons involved in the attack”.

The Ingush authorities took the investigation under his control. As has told “RIA Novosti”, the Secretary of security Council of Ingushetia Ahmed Dzeitov, the investigation also controlled by the Prosecutor and the Minister of internal Affairs of the Republic. The head of the Ministry of internal Affairs of Ingushetia Alexander Trofimov headed the operational-investigative group. The representative of the head of the Republic Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said that the politician would not comment on the incident.

Article on which criminal case is brought, apply to the investigative jurisdiction of the interior Ministry, so the investigation will be carried out by the Ministry of internal Affairs. As explains a source close to law enforcement bodies of Ingushetia, if in the future, it will be reclassified on other articles, the material may pick up the Investigative Committee.

The investigative Committee can now take the lead in this, says the head of the international human rights group “Agora” Pavel Chikov. “If the TFR will want to investigate the case, there are no impediments that will not be repaired, especially when it comes to the Central office of the TFR” — the expert believes. Jurisdiction over the case, he said, can identify the Prosecutor.

Qualification of the case

With the current qualifications do not agree the Council on human rights (SPCH) at the President. The head of the HRC Mikhail Fedotov wrote an appeal to the Prosecutor General and the Investigative Committee and noted that, in the opinion of the Board, the actions of attackers, should be interpreted as “robbery” and “obstruction of the lawful professional activities of journalists” (part 3, article 144 and part 2 of article 161 of the criminal code). Fedotov also asked the Prosecutor General Yuri Chayka to take under his personal control.

On retraining will insist, and “the Media”, told chief editor Sergey Smirnov. “It was a business trip, so the attack on journalists is a direct attack on freedom of expression,” insists Smirnov.

According to the editor of “media zones”, the journalist of the edition Egor Skovoroda together with colleagues was in Chechnya and Ingushetia in the press tour organized by the CPT. In Chechnya and Ingushetia Pan planned to gather material for several texts: in particular, about the case against citizens of Ukraine Mykola Karpuk and Stanislaw Cliche accused of killing Russians in Chechnya in the 1990s, and so-called honour killings in the country.

The correspondent of “media zones” are also looking for the texture for the material about the murder of Boris Nemtsov, said Smirnov. According to him, these trips are organized by the defenders, is very convenient for journalists: you can be all together in several places for several days.

The President’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov called the event “an absolute hooliganism”. “We understand that the danger had been subjected to these people’s lives. This is totally unacceptable and we hope that the law enforcement bodies of the Republic will take the most effective measures to search for and identify the perpetrators, to properly ensure the safety of human rights defenders and journalists”, said he.

The Reaction Of Chechnya

Press Secretary of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov Alvi Karimov immediately after the attack told the radio “Echo of Moscow” that heard nothing about the incident. Later in conversation with “Interfax” he called absurd the words of the representative of the organization “reporters without borders” Johann beer.

Bir in an interview with “Kommersant” noted that “this is not the first attack on the human rights defenders Committee for the prevention of torture. “Now we see the consequences of impunity the first attacks. Obviously, the law about youhentai and loud statements of the head of Chechnya against his critics create a climate where such crimes,” said bir.

“The expression of Bira testify that he does not control the situation and evidence, so bold and irresponsible form says absurd things,” — said Karimov.

Chechen Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev in conversation with TV channel “Rain” suggested that members of the Committee for the prevention of torture themselves can be involved in the attack on journalists and human rights defenders.

Kadyrov against Kalyapin

Three hours after the attacks on journalists unknown tried to penetrate into the headquarters of the human rights defenders of the joint mobile group of the Committee for the prevention of torture in the Ingush village of Yandare. As he wrote in his Twitter lawyer CAT Dmitry Utoken, armed men came to headquarters on five machines, one of them turned off the surveillance camera installed at the entrance, three others, according to him, climbed into the room through the window. “People in camouflage uniforms and masks, armed with automatic weapons,” described the attackers Utoken. According to the lawyer, the attackers tried to knock a metal door.

The police has recorded the attempted break-in, but “the penetration in office was not” leads TASS words of the interlocutor from law enforcement.

The Committee for the prevention of torture (formerly the Committee against torture) have a long history of confrontation with the Chechen authorities. After the terrorist attack in Grozny in December 2014, when it was captured the House of press, Ramzan Kadyrov proposed to demolish the family homes of terrorists to punish them for the actions of relatives. In response, the head CAT, a member of the presidential Council on human rights Igor Kalyapin appealed to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s office to verify the words of the Chechen leader. Soon in Grozny, a rally was held where participants came with posters against Kalyapin. After the completion of the action unknown set fire to office of the Committee against torture in Grozny.

Re-office of human rights defenders was defeated crowd in June 2015. Private broadcasting channel “Grozny” then called the event “the picket of public organizations and representatives of civil society of the Republic” who “was outraged by the disregard of human rights defenders in the murder of a Chechen businessman Dadaeva”. Himself Kadyrov said that human rights defenders “deliberately provoked an incident with a goal to once again become famous in the world press, to become owners of new American grants”.