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Chechen Supreme Court prolongs arrest of opposition activist after overturning his detention a month ago

Source: Meduza

Chechnya’s Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of the court of first instance prolonging the arrest of activists Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov — two brothers who ran the opposition Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95. This was reported to Meduza by the Russian LGBT Network.

Twenty-year-old Salekh Magamadov and his 18-year-old brother Ismail Isayev were first arrested in Chechnya in April 2020 and accused of making “offensive publications.” (One of them later made a public apology). They left Chechnya for Nizhny Novgorod in July 2020 with the help of the Russian LGBT Network. In February 2021, however, police officers in Nizhny Novgorod detained Magamadov and Isayev and then sent them back to Chechnya, where they were arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting terrorism. They now face up to 15 years in prison.

Spokespeople for the advocacy group said that just a month ago, on March 21, the Chechen Supreme Court lifted the measure of restraint against Ismail Isayev during an appeals hearing. But then on April 5, a Grozny district court extended Isayev’s arrest. 

During the supreme court hearing, Isayev’s lawyers noted that the ruling on the basis of which the Grozny district court prolonged their client’s arrest had already been overturned. They also pointed out gross violations of procedural norms. 

“It’s perplexing that these rulings were made regardless of the fact that the defense drew the attention of the courts to these significant violations,” said lawyer Mark Alekseyev. 

Isayev’s lawyers have appealed to Grozny’s Pre-Trial Detention Center No.1 (SIZO-1) with a demand for his release. The term of his arrest expired on April 7. 

In mid-March, Zara Magamadova, the mother of Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov, made a public appeal to Russia’s Human Rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, seeking help for her sons. Moskalkova later stated that she had taken the case under her personal control.

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