On January 20, 2005, Makhmut Magomadov (spelling amended) was seized by armed men in Gozny. Mr. Magomadov has not been seen or heard from since this incident. The Staropromyslovskii district procuracy and the Staropromyslovskii district police claim that Magomadov was released on January 23, 2005. Magomadov’s family and colleagues have not seen him and question the credibility of these reports.
Magomadov works for the Chechen Committee for National Salvation and has been very involved in preparing cases, stemming from human rights violations committed during the Chechen conflict, for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). It is believed this work may have resulted in his being targeted for abduction. The Russian NGO, the International Protection Centre, had most recently brought a case Magomadov had worked on before the ECHR in December 2004.
The European Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights issued a declaration condemning human rights violations in the Chechen Republic on January 27, 2005, in which Magomadov’s abduction was cited.
LRWC is very concerned for the safety of Mr. Magomadov and have written Russian President Vladamir Putin and other Russian and Chechen officials requesting Mr. Magomadov’s immediate release and a full investigation in to his abduction and treatment while in custody. LRWC has also urged these officials to ensure that such events do not occur in the future.
Letter written February 22, 2005 by Charles B. Davison
Reports surfaced on the Internet on February 13, 2005 that Makhmut Magomadov had returned home. Several sources report that Magomadov claims to have only been held one night, and that his detention had been a mistake. He apparently had been confused with another Magomadov, but was released after the mistake was cleared up. However, taking no chances with his safety, Magomadov claims to have left Chechneya and stayed with a friend abroad, only returning on the evening of February 12, 2005. He is grateful for the concern and support of those who wrote letters on his behalf.