IAPL: Chechnya/Russia: Chechen authorities hold rights lawyer Magomed Alamov, promising to kill him in 5 days

On 24 October 2023, human rights group Crew Against Torture reported that the Chechen Authorities had held Crew Against Torture member and Chechen human rigths defender Magomed Alamov, and issued death threats. The authorities also threatened Magomed Alamov by threatening his family’s safety.

Magomed Alamov returned to the Chechen Republic after accompanying a young woman, who was a survivor of domestic, violence from Russia’s North Cuacasus on 5 October 2023. Since his return, his colleages have not been able to reach him.

Magomed Alamov is a human rights defender and lawyer of Chechen origin. Up until very recently, he has collaborated with the human rigths group Crew Against Torture; an informal union of Russian lawyers who, individually, continue the work they used to do as a Russian-based human rights organisation “Committee Against Torture” (CAT). Following the listing of CAT as a foreign agent by Russian authorities on 10 June 2022, the organisation was forced to close its doors. Established in 2000, CAT was a prominent human rights organisation in Russia, investigating allegations of torture by state agents and representing victims of torture in the court system, including at the European Court of Human Rights. Human rights defenders who used to work with CAT were regularly subjected to defamation campaigns, physical attacks, detentions, and judicial persecution because of their peaceful human rights work.

On 5 October 2023, at the request of the human rights organisation ‘North Caucasus: SOS’, Magomed Alamov accompanied a survivor of domestic violence from Ingushetia to a safehouse. On 11 October 2023, the human rights defender started to receive phonecalls from the General Administration for Combating Extremism (Centre E). The caller demanded that Magomed Alamov present himself for questioning in relation to his involvement in the alleged disappearance of the aforementioned survivor. In the absence of a subpoena, the human rights defender refused to present himself.

On 13 October, Chechen law enforcement officers unlawfully detained the human rights defender’s brother, at the Special Police Regiment #2, where the authorities threatened him, and demanded him to get in touch with Magomed Alamov and to convince the human rights defender to return to the Chechen Republic. Fearing for his brother’s life, Magomed Alamov travelled to the Chechen Republic; his colleagues from Crew against Torture are unsure about his current whearabouts.

On 23 October2023, the survivor of domestic violence got in touch with her relatives in the Chechen Republic, and reported that Magomed Alamov was present at their house during the call. She reported that the human rights defender addressed her and said “I am at your house, surrounded by your relatives. My life and the life of my family is in danger. They gave me a week for you to return home. If you are not home in a week – they will kill me.” On 23 October 2023 the Crew against Torture filed complaints to the Ministry of Interior and to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation demanding protection for the human rights defender.

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Chechnya/Russia: Chechen authorities hold rights lawyer Magomed Alamov, promising to kill him in 5 days