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Suspects Say They Were Tortured

Published: October 18, 2005 (Issue # 1114)


MOSCOW — Three men recently acquitted of terrorism charges, including two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners, accused law enforcement agencies on Friday of torturing them to force confessions.

A jury in Tatarstan in September acquitted Timur Ishmuratov, Ravil Gumarov and Fanis Shaikhutdinov of charges of involvement in the January explosion of a gas pipeline in the Tatarstan city of Bugulma.

The acquittal was a rare case of suspects being acquitted of terrorism charges in a country that has been hit by a string of devastating terrorist attacks. Prosecutors said they would appeal the ruling.

Ishmuratov and Gumarov are among seven Russian men who were released from Guantanamo last year and returned to Russia. After being briefly held in jail in southern Russia, they were freed after investigators found no evidence of their involvement in the Taliban movement.

The pipeline exploded on Jan. 8, but it caused no casualties. Citing initial police reports, rights groups claimed the blast was caused by technical problems, not criminals.

But the three men were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the explosions.

They said at a news conference Friday that law enforcers had severely beaten them, deprived them of food and sleep and tortured them with gas masks.

Shaikhutdinov said he spent the first five days of his detention without any sleep, one wrist handcuffed to the bars of his jail cell so as to prevent him from sitting down.

“At night we would stand and during the day they allowed us to sit down, telling us meanwhile to admit that we had acquired explosives,” he said.

Shaikhutdinov said regional police and security officers had beat him several days in a row, trying to get him to confess involvement in the pipeline explosion and accuse his comrades.

“Then I fell and they continued beating me as I was lying with their hands and legs, aiming at my kidneys and groin and stomach,” Shaikhutdinov said bitterly.

He also said law enforcement officers had put a gas mask on him, periodically turning off the flow of oxygen and making him breathe cigarette smoke, which caused him to suffocate and vomit.

“Gas masks and electric shock are common in Tatarstan,” said Gumarov, who also said he was tortured.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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