Target: Aleksandr Ivanovich Bastrykin, Chairman of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation
Goal: Provide sick prisoner with urgently required medical care and investigate his allegations of torture.
Murder suspect Tamerlan Eskerkhanov has been denied necessary medications and medical treatment while in police custody. Eskerkhanov also claims to have been tortured and ill-treated by police. Sign the petition demanding that Russia respect the human rights of all prisoners, regardless of their crimes, and urge authorities to make a full and impartial investigation into all allegations of torture.
Eskerkhanov is one of five main suspects in the recent murder of activist Boris Nemtsov in Moscow. The case is high profile and prompted President Vladimir Putin to publicly state that he will personally oversee the process of bringing those responsible for Nemtsov’s death to trial. However, in its zeal to prosecute Nemtsov’s killer or killers, Russia appears to have neglected a number of key human rights and fair trial procedures. For instance, when two members of the Public Monitoring Commission reported two other suspects’ allegations of torture, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation suggested that the pair was “[interfering] with the work of investigators with the purpose of preventing a comprehensive, full and objective investigation of the case,” which constitutes an implicit threat to bring criminal charges against human rights activists.
Meanwhile, Eskerkhanov alleges that he was denied sleep, food, and water for two days after his arrest. He claims that an officer set fire to his beard, and that others insulted him and his wife. He also claims that when he was strip-searched officers took pictures of his naked body with their phones.
Eskerkhanov also suffers from multiple medical conditions that require medication and medical attention. It took two weeks of constant efforts on the part of Eskerkhanov’s lawyer to get her client his medication. Even so, he fell so ill during one of his hearings that an ambulance was called. The judge declined to postpone the hearing, ignoring the medics’ insistence that Eskerkhanov be hospitalized immediately.
It is of course important to ensure that Boris Nemtsov’s killers are brought to justice, but justice cannot exist in a legal system that ignores human rights and fair trial procedures. Sign the petition and demand fair treatment for Eskerkhanov and all those in custody for Boris Nemtsov’s murder.
Dear Chairman of the Investigation Committee,
I am writing to express concern at the treatment of Tamerlan Eskerkhanov and the four others in custody for the murder of activist Boris Nemtsov. I am greatly concerned that fair trial standards are not being followed and am troubled by the prisoners’ multiple allegations of torture. I therefore demand that a full and impartial investigation be made into these allegations, and that the five suspects be guaranteed safety from torture and ill-treatment.
Eskerkhanov suffers from a number of medical conditions that require medication and medical attention. However, he was denied necessary medication for two weeks following his arrest. Furthermore, when he fell ill during a hearing the judge ignored the advice of the medics called to the scene, who insisted that Eskerkhanov be immediately hospitalized. Instead, the judge continued with the hearing.
Eskerkhanov also claims he was deprived of sleep, food, and water for two days after his arrest; was verbally insulted; had his beard set on fire; and was photographed naked by officers after being strip-searched. Other prisoners have also made allegations of torture, which were reported to authorities by members of the Public Monitoring Commission. However, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation suggested that the activists making the reports were “[interfering] with the work of investigator with the purpose of preventing a comprehensive, full and objective investigation of the case.”
A truly comprehensive, full, and objective investigation of the case must address these allegations. Of course Boris Nemtsov’s killers must be brought to justice, but justice cannot exist in a legal system that threatens human rights activists and disregards prisoners’ safety and human rights. I demand a full investigation into these allegations, and I demand that all prisoners be guaranteed safety from torture and ill-treatment while in custody.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Liam Quinn