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From "nath" <vallet.nathalie@wanadoo.fr>
Date Mon, 21 Feb 2000 23:35:12 +0100
Subject globe_l: Russian government should open doors of filtration camps to international scrutiny

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International *
News Service 032/00
AI INDEX: EUR 46/09/00
17 February 2000


Russian government should open doors of filtration camps to
international scrutiny
"The appointment of a special representative on Chechnya to respond to
complaints about human rights abuses is yet another public relations
exercise by the Russian government under growing international
pressure," Amnesty International said today.

The Russian authorities have refused calls to allow access for
international human rights monitors to Chechnya and have instead
appointed as a special representative on human rights in
Chechnya,Vladimir Kalamanov, the head of the Russian immigration

Following official denials today of atrocities in "filtration camps",
the first task for Vladimir Kalamanov should be to allow access for
international and national human rights organizations to Chechnya and
the "filtration camps" to see for themselves whether there is evidence
of human rights violations.

"If the Russian government has nothing to hide it would investigate
allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including rape, in "filtration
camps", as well as extrajudicial executions of civilians in Grozny and
give access to Chechnya first and foremost to the representatives of the
International Committee of the Red Cross," Amnesty International said.

The Russian government should immediately make public the names,
whereabouts, current state of health and the charges brought against
anyone detained in the four or more "filtration camps".

The Chechen Minister of Health, Omar Khambiev, a surgeon and his team of
up to 24 male and female doctors and nurses were detained by Russian
Federal forces on 2 or 3 February. Amnesty International has received
information that they are held in the Mozdok "filtration camp" situated
on the premises of the military base. Omar Khambiev was allegedly
targeted by the Russian forces because his brother, Magomed Khambiev, is
a well-known Chechen military commander.

The Russian government had denied all along the existence of secret
"filtration camps". Nobody knows the exact number of detainees in the
"filtration camps" but there are reportedly at least 700 detainees in
the Chernokozovo camp alone.

The Head of the Main Department for Execution of Punishments in the
Russian Ministry of Justice, Vladimir Yelunin, denied in a media
interview all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in "filtration
camps". The only problem recognized by Vladimir Yelunin was that "it's
dark and damp there".

Meanwhile the representative of the Main Department of the Procurator
General's Office in the North Caucasus, Sergey Prokopov, told ITAR-TASS
news agency that after the seizure of Grozny "the holdovers have been
replenished with a large amount of prisoners."

As reported by Amnesty International last November, women and men are
subjected to "filtration" when their identity documents are checked
against computer data, which allegedly includes information on suspected
members of armed Chechen groups and their relatives. They are usually
kept for some time at a detention place at the checkpoint and then taken
to "filtration camps". Hundreds of men and teenage boys have also been
reportedly detained in the towns and villages of Naursky District,
Grozny and other regions under the control of the Russian forces and
taken to "filtration camps".

Amnesty International is concerned that arbitrary detention of people in
such camps, without access to their relatives, lawyers, or the outside
world would facilitate the practice of torture and ill treatment. The
organization documented a large number of cases of torture and
ill-treatment, including electric shocks, in "filtration camps" during
the 1994 to 1996 armed conflict in the Chechen Republic. Men between the
ages of 16 and 55 were held in such camps throughout the war in

Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street,
WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom
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