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Chechen Man Who Claimed Torture Detained In Belarus, May Be Sent To Russia

Amriyev told rights activists in 2013 that he had been kidnapped by police in Chechnya who tortured him for two days. (file photo)

Belarusian authorities have detained a Chechen man who has been seeking to avoid being returned to Chechnya, where he says he has been tortured by police in the past, and are preparing to hand him over to Russia.

Murad Amriyev was detained by Belarusian border guards after crossing from Russia overnight, Igor Kalyapin, chairman of the Russian-based Committee for the Prevention of Torture, wrote on Facebook on June 8.

Belarusian police told RFE/RL that Amriyev was being held in the town of Dobrush, near the border, and that papers needed to transfer him to the Russian authorities were being drawn up.

Amriyev, a former mixed martial arts champion, told Kalyapin's rights group in 2013 that he had been kidnapped by police in Chechnya who tortured him for two days, hanging him in handcuffs and applying electric shocks to his body.

He was detained in western Russia on June 4 and Chechen law-enforcement officials sought to seize him when he was released from custody, but he evaded them, according to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and other supporters.

The rights group has warned that he could face abuse, torture, or even death if he is returned to Chechnya, where he is wanted on suspicion of using forged documents.

The effort to take Amriyev to Chechnya reignited questions about the reach of Kremlin-backed Chechen leader's Ramzan Kadyrov's security forces, who have raised concerns several times in the past by carrying out operations in Moscow and other areas far from Chechnya.

Rights activists say that Kadyrov, who was appointed to head Chechnya by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007, rules through repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the province in the North Caucasus.

They claim that he bears responsibility for abuses including kidnappings, disappearances, torture, and killings of political opponents. He denies it.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Belarus and North Caucasus services
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