Amirov’s Attorneys Ask President to Save Him From Death in Prison

June 24, 2013
Said Amirov

[In this article, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reports on the status of Said Amirov, the ex-mayor of Makhachkala who has been incarcerated on charges of complicity in murder. Amirov’s lawyers have complained that he is being denied necessary medical treatment—Ed.]

Defense attorneys acting for Said Amirov— the ex-Mayor of Makhachkala who was charged as an accomplice in the murder in Dagestan of investigator Arseny Gajibekov— have urged Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gennady Kornienko, head of the Federal Corrections Service, and Vladimir Lukin, Human Rights Ombudsman, to intervene immediately on behalf of their client. His attorneys claim that Amirov is virtually near death, and that instead of medical treatment, the siloviki [power ministry agents] are transferring him secretly from one investigative isolation cell to another in the capital, and that he has been once again incarcerated in Lefortovo pre-trial detention center, where his attorneys claim he will not be able to receive medical assistance.

Said Amirov’s lawyer Almaz Kaziyev told Izvestia that these dangerous conditions have forced him to send official telegrams to the president, the Federal Corrections Service head and the main human rights defender of the country.

“We wrote in the telegrams in detail that Amirov is in a near-death situation and if extreme measures are not taken, the situation could end very sadly, even with his death,” Almaz Kaziyev told Izvestia.

The siloviki have begun to hide Amirov from his attorneys and relatives, said Kaziyev.

“I looked for him all over Moscow for two days. The head of Butyrka [Prison] told me that he was transferred to the hospital at Matrosskaya Tishina [Prison], but he is not there. I made noise and threatened to call in the media and after that they admitted that Amirov has once again been returned to Lefortovo [Prison],” Kaziyev told Izvestia.

Kaziyev claims that the current conditions of detention of the Makhachkala ex-mayor are cause for serious concern.

“The conditions at Lefortovo are absolutely not intended even for regular disabled persons, let alone special cases. We have our own highly-qualified doctor, but they don’t allow him to see Amirov,” the attorney told Izvestia.  “We are asking that Amirov be transferred to Matrosskaya Tishina where there are at least some conditions for providing medical treatment.”

The Federal Corrections Service denies the accusations from Amirov’s attorneys.

“No one is hiding Amirov from anyone. At the present time he is undergoing treatment in Pre-Trial Detention Center No. 2 (Butyrka—Izvestia). His two attorneys have visited him as well as a prosecutor from the Prosecutor General’s Office, an investigator, and Vladimir Lukin, Human Rights Commissioner, the Federal Corrections Service told Izvestia. “Amirov was released from the hospital because there were no indications for his stay there.”

In the opinion of experts, the attorneys are pursuing several aims, trying to get Amirov transferred from pre-trial detention in Lefortovo to Matrosskaya Tishina.

“At Lefortovo, there are problems with some forms of medical treatment, only two or three people are held in each cell, and therefore no one provides assistance to Amirov, he is not fed or taken to the toilet. For a disabled person, it is torturous to stay there,” attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told Izvestia. “If he goes to the hospital at Matrosskaya Tishina, there are better conditions there. There normal care is possible, as is the help of other fellow inmates, and even a special diet is possible to obtain,” he said.

Another prominent attorney whose client is now being held in Lefortovo believes that Amirov’s attorneys are looking for ways to transfer him to a pre-trial detention center that is more open to outside communications in order to maintain closer contact with him.

“Lefortovo is a special isolation prison where there exists total control:  all the buildings are wired and watched, therefore it is impossible to speak privately with detainees or openly discuss the defense strategy or search for witnesses. Moreover, the detention regimen there is rather harsh, there are few fellow inmates in the cells, it is total isolation,” the lawyer told Izvestia. “At Matrosskaya Tishina, there aren’t such harsh conditions, lawyers can freely speak, and if someone has to telephone from the prison, that can be done without any particular problems,” he said.

We will recall that Amirov was transferred from Lefortovo pre-trial detention to the psychiatric ward of the Butyrka Prison hospital after an incident that occurred on 11 June. One of the wardens noticed when he looked through the peephole while making his rounds of the cells that Amirov was lying in a pool of blood on the bed. The mayor was immediately taken to the hospital under maximum guard where doctors provided him emergency treatment.

Said Amirov was detained on 1 June during a large-scale operation by intelligence agencies in Makhachkala. At that time the second suspect in this case, Yusup Japarov, Deputy Mayor of Kaspiysk, Amirov’s nephew, was detained. They were flown to Moscow where both were put under arrest under 1 August 2013 at the petition of the investigation to Basmanny District Court in the capital. Now both are under special guard in Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. Amirov and Japarov are charged under Art. 295 of the Criminal Code (“Attempt on the life of an investigator”), for which they face sentences of up to life imprisonment.