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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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