Staunton, September 4 – In response to a dramatic increase in the number of counter-terrorist operations last month – five compared to four during all of 2019 – and more deaths – eight compared to five last year – Ingush leaders are demanding an end to the siloviki practice of killing suspects rather than arresting and trying them.
The practice of the siloviki, “as a rule sent from other regions, is raising questions among residents of the republic, public opinion leaders and human rights activists,” the editors of the independent Fortanga news agency say (fortanga.org/2020/09/ubit-nelzya-zaderzhivat-pochemu-siloviki-v-ingushetii-vo-vremya-speczoperaczij-tak-chasto-ubivayut-lyudej/).
Dzhambulat Dzaurov, a member of the Council of Teips of Ingushetia, says that the time has come to restore legality. It may be that those the siloviki call terrorists are such, but that must be shown in court rather than invoked as justification for what is little more than murder. “Everyone is innocent until convicted by a court.”
Ruslan Mutsolgov, head of the Ingushetia branch of Yabloko, says that people in Ingushetia are especially outraged by this practice because in their view, there hasn’t been an active underground movement for a long time and because the siloviki are notorious for engaging in torture and lies.
And those who know anything about fighting terrorists or criminals in general know that it is far better to arrest and interrogate people so as to learn more about their activities and associates rather than simply killing them, he continues. Moscow typically pursues arrests everywhere except in the North Caucasus.
In that region, not only do the siloviki kill people without trial but they routinely engage in torture. Over the last 18 years, Mutsolgov says, there have been “thousands of complaints” about that, but “only four criminal cases” have been opened, and the punishments handed out were “more formal” than real.
And Ingush lawyer Magomet Aushev says that he believes the siloviki kill suspects in order to avoid the hard work of gathering evidence against them. That is not only counterproductive from the point of view of the authorities: it is a violation of the rights of the victims and undermines the authority of officials.