Staunton, September 19 – Today, the cases of three Ingush activists show that Moscow and Magas are continuing to tighten the screws, rejecting demands by the population to protest against these moves, and ignoring international complaints about the obvious fabrications behind charges against Ingush leaders.
First, a Russian court in Stavropol Kray extended the detention of Malsag Uzhakhov for two more months, continuing the pattern of the last year in which leaders of the March 2019 demonstrations against the border deal with Chechnya find their terms extended without real justification every time their earlier terms run out (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354345/).
Uzhakhov’s continuing detention – he has been behind bars for more than a year – is particularly serious because it is part of an effort by Moscow and Magas to break the Ingush Council of Teips of which he is leader and because at 67, he is the oldest and most frail of all the detainees at the present time.
His hearings have been exclusively outside of Ingushetia to prevent his family and friends from attending or demonstrating on his behalf. Earlier this week, Magas refused an application by his supporters to organize a meeting to call for his release on health grounds (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354171).
Second, the Memorial human rights organization declared that Magomed Khamkhoyev, another Ingush now in detention for his role in the March 2019 protests is a political prisoner (memohrc.org/ru/news_old/memorial-priznal-politzaklyuchyonnym-eshchyo-odnogo-uchastnika-ingushskogo-protesta).
The Moscow-based organization said that the charges of aggravated assault against siloviki that have been lodged against him are based on the testimony of a single and mysterious witness no one has been able to identify. Memorial suggested the individual and his testimony were dreamed up by the powers that be.
And third, in a case that appears separate from the anti-protest moves but in fact is not, Daud Mamilov, who has been detained on charges of participation in ISIS, has complained that he has been subjected to illegal pressure by his jailors (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354293/ and fortanga.org/2020/09/mamilov-davlenie/).
The ISIS charges appear to have been invented as well, in order to make use of them as a way of putting pressure on his father, Zakry Mamilov, a deputy in the Popular Assembly of the Ingush Republic who voted against the land deal that led Magas to give up 10 percent of the republic’s territory to Chechnya.
What makes Daud Mamilov’s case so disturbing is that it shows the willingness of the powers that be in Magas and Moscow to exploit their ability to threaten the relatives of those they really want to go after, something that in a republic as small as Ingushetia means that no one is completely free from that danger.