Person of the Week: Magomed Suleimanov

posted 26 Jun 2016, 09:58 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Jun 2016, 10:17 ]
On 22 June 2016 the Memorial Human Rights Centre suggested Magomed Suleimanov, a Salafist whose body was found at the site of a counterterrorist operation in southern Dagestan, could have been killed earlier and his body disposed of in that place. Caucasian Knot reported that Memorial believes such methods  have been used by law enforcement agencies in the region for many years. On 16-17 June as Caucasian Knot reports, law enforcement agents conducted what they classify as a 'counter-terrorism operation' near the villages of Kasumkent, Suleiman-Stalsky district, Gedjukh, Derbent district, and in a forest area of Tabasaran district. As a result of the operation 10 suspected militants and four law enforcement officers were killed. LifeNews reported on 18 June that one of the casualties was 22-year-old Magomed Suleimanov. 

Oleg Orlov, head of the 'Hot Spots' programme at Memorial Human Rights Centre, told Caucasian Knot: "I can’t assert that this practice was applied in this case... But my experience suggests that there are grounds to believe that the man was taken away, or kidnapped, but, in fact, killed. Recently, this trick is commonly used in Dagestan; such cases are presented in the report on counterterror of the HRC ‘Memorial’." 

Svetlana Gannushkina, a board member at Memorial Human Rights Centre and  chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, said that the case of Magomed Suleimanov reminded her of that of Alikhan Markuev, who "was kidnapped by law enforcement agents in 2009 in Chechnya, subsequently killed and presented as a terrorist: "We knew that Markuev would be killed beforehand – a prison guard told us about it. I wrote a letter to the then President Dmitry Medvedev with an indication of the village where Markuev was kept... However, responses of various agencies stated that the information was not confirmed. But we were right: Markuev was killed, and his body was planted." Caucasian Knot notes that, according to Svetlana Gannushkina, this practice is used by law enforcement officers "to improve their detection rate and earn new epaulettes."

Photo: Caucasian Knot

'Rights defenders doubt official version of Magomed Suleimanov’s death,' Caucasian Knot, 21 June 2016