Figure of the Day
27 people were executed late on January 25 in Grozny, Novaya Gazeta reported on July 9, and the list is incomplete.
Journalists assume that Chechen security forces had suspected all of them in extremism. Whether the people had anything to do with this sort of crimes is unknown, at least no official allegations had been made against them. They had remained imprisoned for more than a month and were tortured to extract confessions.
The decision to execute the criminals was taken "centrally" and "spontaneously". Novaya Gazeta’s sources confirm that this has been "an extrajudicial execution of unprecedented scale, even for Chechnya."
All the reports on the murders had been sent to the investigative authorities in advance. Law enforcement officers did not take any measures for two months, did not try to convince those who were still living to testify and did not meet with the families of those who had already been killed.
The journalists gave the list of the people detained at the December operations to Tatiana Moskalkova, the human rights commissioner. She refused to accept the response of the Investigative Committee, which says no signs of violence were found: "Since both my request and the letter from Novaya Gazeta that I sent contain the names of people allegedly executed, the check cannot be considered complete, and I would ask you to write a clarifying answer for the names listed in the letter. "
On July 10, Memorial Human Rights Center confirmed there had been mass detentions in Chechnya in late December 2016.
"We have reasons to believe that you are right about those 27 people, who are most likely, no longer alive. We just need a little more time to check the information on the rest of them," said Oleg Orlov, a member of Memorial’s board.
On July 11, the Union of Journalists of the Chechen Republic published an official appeal to Novaya Gazeta and the author of the investigation, Elena Milashina.
"Ms. Milashina from Novaya Gazeta with her maniacal persistence of a person suffering from a painful predilection for revealing imaginary crimes, with pseudo-expository energy, has been keeping the Chechen Republic in the focus of her inflamed mind for years," the statement said.
Earlier, Novaya Gazeta had published stories on secret prisons and mass killings of gay men in Chechnya.