Today, March 17, 2021, Ismail Isaev turns 18 years old. For more than a month, Ismail has been imprisoned in the Chechen Republic, as he is accused of aiding an illegal armed group under Part 2 of Article 208 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Now he is an adult, which means that the prosecution can request a more severe punishment for him, as well as send him to a regular colony, instead of an educational one. Ismail celebrates his birthday together with his brother - Salekh Magamadov - in pre-trial detention center # 2 in Grozny.
The mother of the abducted, Zara Magamadova, recorded a public appeal to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tatyana Moskalkova, asking for help to her sons. Magamadova, like human rights defenders, is convinced that the case against her sons was fabricated, and the persecution is politically motivated.
On the coming-of-age day of Ismail Isaev, the Russian LGBT Network publishes a chronology of events, told by the brothers, to whom lawyers Alexander Nemov and Mark Alekseev were finally allowed.
“On February 4, 2021, we - Ismail Isaev and Salekh Magamadov - were detained by people in uniform in the apartment where we lived, after which we were taken to the police department of Nizhny Novgorod. There, we were handed over to employees of the Gudermes department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia.
We were taken to the Chechen Republic. On the way which lasted two days and throughout which we were subjected to physical and psychological violence, there was a stop, we were taken to an unknown house. We spent the night there. All this time we were handcuffed.
On February 6, the first interrogation as witnesses took place in Gudermes in the presence of lawyer Alexander Nemov. After testifying, we were released and immediately detained by police officers, and later taken to the Sernovodsky District Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” (from the testimony of Ismail Isaev)
The young people were taken to the Sernovodsk police department as suspects. While Alexander Nemov unsuccessfully fought for the opportunity to gain admission to his clients, the brothers were forced to sign a waiver of lawyers, as well as to sign fabricated confessions.
“An unknown man in civilian clothes, explained to me and Isaev I. S. that he gives us a second chance, and we must refuse the services of a lawyer A. Nemov. and if we obey him (the man), they (the police officers) will give us a maximum of 3 years in prison, and if we refuse to cooperate, we will still be forced to sign a statement and we will be given the maximum prison terms.
My brother Isaev and I, fearing torture, agreed to sign the testimony that we did not give, and the refusal of the lawyer Nemov. On the morning of February 7, we were threatened and forced to confess to a crime we did not commit. They said we had to sign a confession.” (from the testimony of Salekh Magamadov)
Isaev and Magamadov told the lawyers that the testimony, which originally appeared in the criminal case, was brought to them in printed form by the police officers, who forced the young people to memorize it the night before the trial, which handed down a decision on the measure of restraint against the accused brothers.
On February 7, police officers confronted Salekh and Ismail with a fact: they would only have an appointed attorney. Initially, the brothers disagreed, but after being physically abused, they found themselves in a stalemate:
“After my answer, the police officer took me to another office, grabbed my chest, hit me twice against the wall, I had to answer that I would sign an agreement with the appointed lawyer. Then the police officer explained to me: “If you try to resist us, then I am ready to kill you, even in the courtroom. I’m not a man if I won't kill you.” (from the testimony of Salekh Magamadov)
Among the police officers who interrogated the brothers at the Sernovodsk police department, Magamadov and Isaev identified the officers of the Akhmat Kadyrov Patrol and Post Service Regiment No. 2, who had already detained and tortured them in the spring of 2020. The Russian LGBT Network believes the arrests are related.
“Ismail and Salekh were already detained in the spring of 2020 for their opposition channel Osal Nakh 95. We have all seen what is happening with active critics of Kadyrov: the regime is doing everything to keep them silent. When the brothers were released from the Kadyrov police patrol service, they were warned that they were now informers and that they would need to turn in other oppositionists in the Republic. Salekh and Ismail left the Republic, refusing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. Their abduction and a fabricated criminal case are nothing more than revenge for disobedience,” says Veronika Lapina of the Russian LGBT Network.
Defense lawyers Alexander Nemov and Mark Alekseev will demand a review of the criminal case. “I have no forecast at all,” defense lawyer Alexander Nemov comments on the case. “This case is 100% political, there is nothing at all, no evidence. And yes, we understand that this is Chechnya and Chechen “special” justice. But let's be honest - Chechen law enforcement officers have never faced such pressure before.”
Alekseev and Nemov plan to file complaints on the fact of torture in 2020 and will petition for an inspection on the fact of threats and direct use of violence against the brothers to fabricate a criminal case.