Russian Federation: Forced disappearance of Mr. Mohmadsalah Denilovich Masaev

Chechnya , Russia

Case RUS 080808
Forced disappearance/ Fear for safety

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by reliable sources[1] and by Antenna International, a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, about the forced disappearance of 42 years old Moscow resident Mr. Mohmadsalah Denilovich Masaev, in Chechnya.

According to the information received, on 3 August 2008 at about 4pm, Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev was abducted by unknown individuals in camouflaged uniforms in Grozny. He had reportedly arrived in Chechnya on 2 August 2008 to attend the funeral of his sister and after the ceremony he had decided to visit his wife and children who were staying in Sernovodsk with relatives. Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev reportedly told his brother, Mr. Oleg Masaev, that he was going to catch a cab in the centre of Grozny and has since then disappeared. His relatives searched for him the next day and were informed that Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev had been seen being taken away by men in camouflaged uniform, outside the Rosselkhozbank building. Mr. Oleg Masaev subsequently tried to file a report on the abduction at a local police station but the police allegedly refused to register the report. Furthermore, according to the same information, comments made by the policemen led him to understand that his brother had been abducted by Chechen law enforcement officials allegedly acting on informal instructions of the republic’s leadership.

Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev had been previously abducted from Gudermes[2] central mosque, on 28 September 2006, and unlawfully detained for four months, until 21 January 2007, in an unofficial detention facility thought to be in Tsenteroi, run by the then Prime Minister of Chechnya, Mr. Ramazan Kadyrov. Two of his acquaintances were reportedly abducted and detained along with him but freed earlier. Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev reported that, during his detention, he had been beaten on several occasions, detained in condition amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and threatened with death.

Following this event, Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev reportedly sought a criminal investigation into his abduction and he also recounted his experience to the press. The prosecutor’s office criminal investigation, launched early 2008, reportedly confirmed that he was a victim of abduction and illegal detention. The investigation is still ongoing.

Lately on 10 July 2008, an interview given by Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev to an independent newspaper, detailing his treatment throughout his detention and mentioning (Chechen President) Mr. Ramzan Kadyrov, was published.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned that the abduction of Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev is indented to punish him for seeking redress and for speaking out. It is further concerned that this might be an attempt to pressure him to withdraw the complaints he made to the authorities. OMCT is very much concerned for his safety as his whereabouts are currently unknown and fears that he may be subject to torture and ill-treatment. OMCT recalls that the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) both prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Russia and Chechnya urging them to:

i. Immediately locate the whereabouts of Mr. Mohmadsalah Masaev;

ii. Guarantee, in all circumstances, his physical and psychological integrity and guarantee any medical treatment he may require and immediate and unconditional access to a lawyer of his choice and his family;

iii. Order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or if such charges exist, bring him before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee his procedural rights at all times;

iv. Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


· Mr. Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Faxes:+ 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408, Email:;

· Mr. Vladimir Ustinov, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, 103793 g. Moskva K-31, Ul. B. Dimitrovka, d 15a, Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 095 292 88 48;

· Ms. Ella Pamfilova, Chairwoman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Russian Federation, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax:+70952064855;

· Mr. Vladimir Lukin, Russian Federal Ombudsman for Human Rights, Fax: +7 495 207-53-37;

· Mr. Rashid Nurgaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 095 237 49 25;

· Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 095 244 2203;

· Mr. Ramzan Kadyrov, President of the Chechen Republic, Fax: +7 8712 22 30 85

· Mr. Kuznetov V.A., Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic, Fax: +7 8712 22 35 43

· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva Av. de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, e-mail :, fax: +4122 734 40 44;

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Russia in your respective countries.


Geneva, 08 August 2008

Kindly inform OMCT of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.



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