Amirov’s Lawyers Prepare Torture Complaint for ECHR

June 11, 2013
Photo: Mikhail Fomichev/Izvestia

The arrest of Makhachkala’s ex-mayor Said Amirov has led to some unexpected consequences. Attorneys for the former mayor, who has been accused under several articles of the Criminal Code, are preparing to appeal to the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) in which they are complaining about the actions of Russian siloviki [power ministry agents-Ed]. In their opinion, unbearable conditions of detention have been created for Amirov, as he is confined to a wheelchair and suffers from diabetes (this can be viewed as torture under international conventions). Alkhaz Kaziyev, a lawyer for Amirov, described in an interview with Izvestia how the former mayor of Makhachkala spent his first week in pre-trial detention and how the case may impact his relatives.

How is Amirov feeling?

Detention is very difficult for him. He has a tiny cell of only a few square meters, it is not intended for a person in a wheelchair. Said has fallen several times already, trying to get to the sink. He cannot go to the toilet on his own, either, and needs special procedures for this; he has to have a catheter to remove urine, and needs an enema to move his bowels. Amirov has to manage all of this himself in a tiny space.

Are the prison wardens providing assistance to him?

They are telling him, “Wave your hand in the cell and we will come” [the isolation cells are outfitted with video surveillance—Ed]. But in fact, they don’t always react to his requests. And to ask for something, he must submit a written statement addressed to the head of the pre-trial detention facility. And two or three days goes by for all that red tape.

How does he manage the daily insulin shots in this situation?

It happens that he does not receive medication on time, and there is a delay. He does not receive full-fledged medical assistance on the whole, either. They said that the special [intelligence] services have assigned a doctor to him, but that’s not true.

How are you planning to take action in this regard?

We are preparing a complaint to the ECHR. The problem is that according to international human rights conventions, such conditions in which Amirov is incarcerated, and the lack of assistance to him, can be viewed as torture.

Has Amirov asked for anything to be brought to him in his cell – books, writing utensils, perhaps the Koran?

No, he has not asked for the Koran, or fiction either. But he has asked that a small refrigerator be brought to his cell so that the food does not spoil due to the heat. And also a little television set. We’ll see what the pre-trial detention administration says.

Have you talked to the investigator? What sort of impression does he make?

Yes, I have spoken to him. I asked him to show me the record of the interrogation, where the same testimony against Amirov is given which the investigation is talking about. But he could not show me anything. Let the investigator organize a face-to-face meeting of Amirov and that witness, and then it will become obvious that this is all a lie.

How do you regard the information that Amirov’s nephew, Yusup Japarov, has given testimony against him?

We know for a fact that he did not give any testimony.

What about the ties with Magomed Abdulgalimov?
They had no interactions and there could be no such relations. They were familiar to one another, but nothing more than that.

Did the mayor know in general about the existence of a gang of killers who settled scores with the siloviki and other people they didn’t like?

No, how could he? That is not among a mayor’s duties. Yes, they had regular briefings at which the head of the city police, for example, would be present. But such information is reported not to Amirov, but to the appropriate agencies.

In that case, what could be the reason for the investigation of Amirov?

I think that it is related to politics. He is the only strong candidate in the forthcoming elections for the position of president of the republic. Soon there will be elections, and right before them, they decided to get rid of Amirov. Now they will try to keep him longer in pre-trial detention.

How are things for Amirov’s relatives, who also work in government agencies? The son of the ex-mayor, Dalgat, holds the post of head of the Federal Bailiff Service of Dagestan; another son, Magomed, is chair of the Committee on Legislation, Legal Issues and State Construction of the Popular Assembly of Dagestan; his brother Magomedsalam Amirov is the chairman of the Kirov District Court of Makhachkala; and his nephew, Yusup Japarov, is the deputy mayor of Kaspiysk.

It is possible that difficulties will emerge for them at work. Already they are getting hints that it would be better for them to resign. Both sons have taken a vacation.

We will recall that the Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov was detained 1 June during a large-scale operation of special forces in Makhachkala. He was flown to Moscow where he was put under arrest until 1 August 2013 by petition of the investigation to Basmanny District Court. Now he is being held under special surveillance in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison in pre-trial detention.

Said Amirov has been presented with official charges under Articles 295 of the Criminal Code (“Attempt on the life of an investigator”) and Article 222 (“Unlawful arms trade”). The first charge relates to a particularly severe crime, and if the court finds Amirov guilty, he could be threatened with life imprisonment. Analogous charges have been made against other suspects in the case – Magomed Kadiyev and Yusup Japarov.