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Chechen Villagers Plan Protest Against Police Brutality

Ruslan Kutayev (file photo)
Ruslan Kutayev (file photo)
ACHKHOI-MARTAN, Russia -- Inhabitants of the Chechen village of Achkhoi-Martan southwest of Grozny plan to hold a protest against police brutality on November 20, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The villagers plan to protest the detention, torture, and killing of local people by Chechen police and security forces and to adopt a petition to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urging him to put an end to "lawlessness" in Chechnya.

Chechen human rights activist Ruslan Kutayev told RFE/RL that he escaped detention last week as he was in Moscow when several armed masked men in military uniform forced their way into his house in Achkhoi-Martan on November 12 searching for him.

Kutayev said the attempt to detain him was connected with his efforts to solve "crimes committed by the Chechen Interior Ministry forces in Achkhoi-Martan."

Kutayev said he had been involved for some time in investigating the arbitrary detention of local people by police and security forces. He said the search of his house and attempt to detain him were retaliation for those investigations.

Kutayev said that he was sure that the November 12 search was approved by Chechen authorities, and so he had not requested police protection. He added that he and his relatives would protect themselves, if necessary with weapons.

Kutayev has been detained by masked men six times, but managed each time to negotiate his release.

The Russian daily "Yezhednevny zhurnal" on November 15 quoted Kutayev as saying the local authorities had not given permission for the November 20 protest.