On 5 September, 19-year-old Salman Tepsurkaev was abducted from the Krasnodar region in southern Russia. He had moderated 1ADAT, a popular Telegram channel critical of the Chechen authorities. Reports indicate that he was taken to Chechnya and may be held in secret incommunicado detention by law enforcement officials in the Chechen capital Grozny. While Salman Tepsurkaev’s whereabouts remain unknown, a video has appeared on social media where he is seen being sexually violated “in punishment” for cooperating with 1ADAT.
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Lt.-Gen. Vitaly Gheorgievich Volkov
Head of the Investigative Directorate
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic
Ul. Altaiskaya, d. 3
Grozny, Chechen Republic
Russian Federation 364000
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 298 5700 I Fax: 202 298 5735
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Head of the Investigative Directorate,
I am deeply dismayed by the reports of abduction and torture, including sexual violence, of Salman Tepsurkaev, a 19-year-old moderator of the 1ADAT Telegram channel known for its criticism of the Chechen authorities and dissemination of information on human rights violations committed in Chechnya. As you are well aware from numerous media publications, after Salman Tepsurkaev went missing on 5 September in Gelendzhik, Krasnodar region, a video appeared on social media, on 7 September, in which he is seen being subjected to sexual violence. The video ends with Salman Tepsurkaev saying this was punishment for cooperating with 1ADAT. 1ADAT, independent Russian media and human rights organizations have since published new video footage and other evidence which suggest that Salman Tepsurkaev was abducted by members of Chechen security forces and taken to Chechnya where he has been unlawfully detained since. These sources have also named the location of law enforcement premises in Grozny where he has likely been unlawfully detained, and held incommunicado, which substantially increases his risk of further torture or other ill-treatment.
I urge you to take swift action to establish Salman Tepsurkaev’s fate and whereabouts, and ensure his immediate and unconditional release, and ensure he has access to justice and effective remedies; conduct a full, effective, independent and impartial investigation into the reported circumstances of Salman Tepsurkaev’s abduction, and into all allegations of sexual assault, torture and other ill-treatment, and ensure that all those suspected of responsibility are identified and brought to justice in fair trial proceedings.