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U.S. 'Concerned' About Russian Detention Of Chechen Athlete Who Was Tortured

Murad Amriyev (file photo)
Murad Amriyev (file photo)

The United States expressed concern on June 9 about a man whom Belarusian authorities sent back to Russia despite warnings that he could be tortured or killed by Chechen law-enforcement authorities.

Murad Amriyev, a former mixed martial arts champion from Chechnya who says he was tortured by police there in 2013, had fled to Belarus on June 7 after evading Chechen police who were trying to take him into custody.

"We are gravely concerned about the safety and well-being of Murad Amriyev," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

"Mr. Amriyev has reportedly expressed fears of torture and abuse in Chechnya. We urge the Russian government to ensure Mr. Amriyev has access to his lawyer and that his rights under the Russian constitution, laws, and international obligations are respected. We call on the Russian government to ensure the safety of Mr. Amriyev and his lawyer," she said.

Chechen authorities want Amriyev for questioning in connection with a false-documents, an allegation that his lawyers and relatives say is a farce.

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