Following apartment explosion in Magnitogorsk that definitely wasn't terrorism, local police are rounding up and maybe torturing Central Asian migrant workers
Police officers in Magnitogorsk reportedly arrested a Kyrgyzstani citizen earlier this month and tortured him in jail, according to Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz service. Khusnidin Zainabidinov’s wife says her husband is suspected of involvement in an explosion that destroyed a local apartment building and killed dozens of people. Russian officials have insisted that they believe the blast was caused by a gas leak, repeatedly denying rumors that it was an act of terrorism, but Zainabidinov apparently told his wife that police showed him photographs of several bearded men and asked him what he knows about them.
Local prosecutors are currently considering a Kyrgyzstani extradition request for Zainabidinov, who is wanted back home for his alleged involvement in June 2010 ethnic clashes that killed nearly 420 people (mostly Uzbeks) and displaced upwards of 80,000 people.
Human rights activist Bakhrom Khamroev says police in Magnitogorsk have been rounding up migrant workers from Central Asia since the December 31 apartment explosion. The city’s authorities, on the other hand, say the police are merely performing normal “preventative measures.”
Update: Russia's Interior Ministry later denied reports that Zainabidinov is suspected of involvement in the December 31 apartment explosion, and state prosecutors announced that they will review information about Zainabidinov's apparent injuries in police custody.