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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

Wednesday, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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