Chechen villagers who complained to Moscow about police torture are reportedly forced to attend ‘repentance rally’ in Grozny

18:49, 18 august 2017

The residents of Krasnaya Turbina, a village in Chechnya, were reportedly forced to attend a “repentance rally” in Grozny, after signing an open letter to Russian Attorney General Yuri Chaika, complaining about torture by local police officers.

According to the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there were plans to force the villagers to gather in downtown Grozny at Putin Avenue and shout, “We were misled!” It’s unclear if the demonstration actually took place.

Novaya Gazeta says the villagers were transported to Grozny in a police bus, though they were reportedly moved to a civilian bus before arriving at the site of the rally. According to the newspaper’s sources, the villagers were forced to claim that they signed the letter to Chaika without knowing what it said.

The letter to Chaika concerns a criminal case against Magomed Taramov and Dzhamalai Tazbiyev, who are charged with planning to join ISIS. More than 150 villagers in Krasnaya Turbina signed the document, claiming that Taramov and Tazbiyev only confessed to the allegations because police held them without charges and tortured them for six weeks. The two men ultimately signed confessions, but have claimed in court that were coerced.