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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, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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