Mass Protest Rally in Ingushetia. Abducted Brothers Aushev Returned Home After Beatings and Torture


On September, 18 2007 at 10 a.m. residents of Republic of Ingushetia carried out a protest rally against abductions of people by security services. The rally was a response to abduction in Chechnya of two residents of Ingushetia- cousins Magomed Osmanovich Aushev, born in 1982, and Magomed Maksharipovich Aushev, born in 1985, residents of the Surkhakhi village. According to the relatives, on September 18 during the day Aushev cousins arrived by train from Astrakhan to Grozny (Chechen Republic), got in a taxi and headed towards Ingushetia, Nazran. At the outskirts of Grozny, in the Chernorech'e area the taxi was blocked by four cars with men in camouflage uniforms, who forced Aushevs into their cars.
On September 19 at around 3 p.m., a large group of protesters (up to 450 people) gathered in Nazran, and blocked Chechenskaya street, one of the main thoroughfares of town and the railroad. Among protesters were residents of Surkhakhi, relatives of people abducted or executed by security services in Ingushetia and other sympathizing residents of Ingushetia. The protesters carried posters saying “Stop killing innocent people!” “Leave our children alone!” “Bring our sons back!”. A dozen of women were equipped with sticks.
When the Minister of Internal Affairs M. Medov arrived with his guard, one of his guards tried to grab video camera from one of the protesters. Women attacked the guard and almost beat up the Minister and militiamen around him, all of them very quickly left. At the same time the protesters closed the railroad with concrete blocks, this way disabling movement of transport along the main automobile road of Nazran and the railway. The railroad was also closed by dozens of cars and “Gazel” minibuses with residents of Surkhakhi village. Later the protesters were visited by the Prosecutor of the Republic Yu.N. Turygin and members of the Republican Parliament.

The protesters behaved very assertively and said that they would not leave until they get cousins Aushev back. They brought with them flasks with water and praying mats, preparing to stay overnight. In their interviews to journalists and human rights defenders the protesters said that they were tired of security services, who abduct young men, torture and summarily execute them. They strongly criticized the republican authorities and President Zyazikov, who did nothing in order to stop these crimes. The demands of protesters - to return Aushev cousins and other abducted people and to punish the perpetrators were broadcast on the local TV.

After 6 p.m. three armoured military cars with armed security services arrived to the demonstration site (two KamAz and “Ural”). The OMON fighters, some of them in masks, spread across the road and tried to disperse the rally. However, the protesters showered them with stones. Security servicemen opened fire above the heads of the demonstrators, which did not frighten them, they went ahead and pushed the OMON fighters back to their vehicles. Soon the stones hit the military cars, then one of them on a great speed drove into the crowd. The protesters let it go through them and showered it with stones from both sides.

The security servicemen tried to open fire twice, but protesters remained still. In the end, the OMON fighters retreated, several servicemen were injured with stones, windows of their cars were broken.
At 9 p.m. the city major of Nazran, A. Tsetchoev arrived to the site. He asked the people to go home, but in vain. At night over 250 people remained on the site.
On September 20, 2007 at around 2 a.m. the relatives received a phone called from the abducted cousins. The young men were “discovered” at the militia department of Shatoy district of Chechnya. In the morning on September 20, cousins Aushev returned home.

Magomed Aushev had been previously detained by security servicemen. On June 17, 2007 after a notorious military operation in Sukhakhi, where a local resident R.Kh. Aushev was killed (, Magomed was illegally detained, but released the same day. In the meantime he was subjected to beatings and torture in one of the security agencies in North Ossetia. Security servicemen under threat of murder tried to force Aushev into cooperation with them (see details at ). However upon release, Aushev turned to human rights organizations and media, providing details of his detainment, he testified during a meeting of Memorial with the Ombudsman of Germany Gunter Nooke, disclosed the phone number which was given to him by security servicemen. After release Aushev voluntarily came for interrogations to local law enforcement agencies with his lawyer.
According to the released cousins their abductors spoke Russian and Chechen languages, some Russian speakers inserted Ossetian words in their talk. After abduction Aushevs were brought into an unknown place where they were beaten. Their passports and personal belongings were burnt. The younger brother was taken into a cellar and not interrogated. The older cousin was interrogated and tortured with electricity. The abductors said that they took Aushevs in reprisal for older cousin's public statements after previous detainment. They also issued threats in regards of a human rights defender Magomed Mutsolgov, who helped Aushev publicize his case.
At night of September 20 Aushevs were told that they were to be executed, again put in a car driven somewhere for some time. On the way one of the abductors received a phone call. After this call the young men were dropped at a militia station. Subsequently it turned out that it was ROVD of Shatoy district in Chechnya. The abductors disappeared, the militiamen brought Aushevs inside, gave them tea and food and let them call home (it was around 1:30 a.m.). The relatives immediately set out for Shatoy and brought both cousins home to Ingushetia.
On September 20, at 11.30 the grandfather of both cousins took the two young men to the site of the protest rally in Nazran and thanked everybody for help. The protesters de-blocked the road and returned home.