30 April 2010
Reopen investigation into enforced disappearance in Ingushetia!

Mukhmed Gazdiev is appealing to YOU: “You must not stay silent when somebody next to you, your friend, your fellow Earth-dweller suffers. They are being killed, and you say nothing! Tomorrow those who killed will come for you, and this time you will stay silent for ever. If we want to live on this beautiful planet.. I appeal to everyone who can hear me: Do not stay silent! Act!”

Mukhmed Gazdiev’s son Ibragim was 29 years old and full of plans for the future. He had a university degree in Economics and was working as a shop manager in the town of Karabulak, in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, where he lived with his family.

On 8 August 2007, at 12.54 pm Ibragim Gazdiev was reportedly seized by armed men in camouflage in the centre of Karabulak and has never been seen since. The men are believed to be law enforcement officials, specifically, members of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The family believes that he is being, or has been held in secret government custody. The law enforcement agencies deny the fact of Ibragim Gazdiev’s detention.

The criminal investigation into Ibragim Gazdiev’s disappearance has been suspended and reopened several times. The family claim that no effective steps are being taken to establish Ibragim Gazdiev’s fate and whereabouts, or to find those who were involved in this crime.

Since the first day of Ibragim's disappearance his father Mukhmed, a retired history teacher, has been relentlessly looking for his son. In spite of his elderly age, disability and poor health he has no intention of giving up his search for justice. He has appealed to various officials in Ingushetia and in Moscow, including the then Russian President Vladimir Putin, Director of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Prosecutor of Ingushetia, Prosecutor General and the President of Ingushetia. Most recently, he complained to the court against suspension of the investigation but with no result. Gazdiev is appealing to a higher court.

Mukhmed Gazdiev said that he had been threatened due to his attempts to clarify the fate of his son. Furthermore, he was ill-treated during a demonstration he had helped to organize against human rights violations in Ingushetia. In May 2008, Federal Security Services conducted a search of the Gazdiev's family home using a search warrant issued for the neighbour’s house.

According to a local NGO MASHR, Ibragim Gazdiev’s case is one of 179 cases of disappearances which have occured in Ingushetia since 2002. It is a significantly high figure for a republic of only around 500,000 people. Abductions and disappearances, some allegedly with the government involvement,  are happening against the background of increased attacks of illegal armed groups  against government officials and civilians in Ingushetia which, in turn, result in counter-terror operations’ of law enforcement agencies.
 
Disappearances cause particular agony for relatives of the victims. They experience suffering without end, unable to determine whether the victim is dead or alive, unable to go through bereavement and unable to resolve legal and practical matters.

 Please, write to President Medvedev:

Dmitriy Anatolievich Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation
ul. Ilyinka, 23
103132 Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax. +7 495 9102134

Or sign and send the appeal below to the President Medvedev through:
the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sergei Lavrov
ministry@mid.ru

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Reopen investigation into enforced disappearance in Ingushetia!

Dear President Medvedev,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding investigations into the case of Ibragim Gazdiev, who was reportedly abducted by armed men in camouflage on 8 August 2007 in Karabulak, Ingushetia.

I am discouraged to learn that the investigation into Ibragim Gazdiev’s disappearance has been suspended, even though according to reports not all necessary investigative activities, including questioning of all witnesses to this abduction, have been performed.

It is extremely important that Ibragim Gazdiev’s current whereabouts are established and his family be informed of what has happened to him.

I appeal to you to do all you can to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to reopen the investigation and to ensure that it progresses in a thorough, impartial and effective manner.

I further ask that a full, thorough, independent and impartial inquiry be conducted into the allegations that the armed men who were seen to abduct Ibragim Gazdiev were law enforcement officials.

I also urge you to ensure that Ibragim Gazdiev’s relatives are not threatened or intimidated for seeking justice.

Finally, I would like to call on you to take steps to end the impunity for enforced disappearances by ensuring that all alleged cases are investigated effectively and independently and perpetrators are brought to justice. One of the steps on this way would be also to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from the Enforced Disappearance and enact effective implementation of the legislation.

Yours sincerely,

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