Chechen police detain and interrogate 20 relatives of jailed opposition activists

In the village of Komsomolskoye in Chechnya’s Urus-Martanovsky District, police officers detained and interrogated 20 people related to brothers Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov — the jailed opposition activists who ran the the Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95, the human rights organization Russian LGBT Network told Meduza. 

According to eyewitnesses, Isayev and Magamadov’s relatives were interrogated about the whereabouts of the opposition activists’ parents; the police officers demanded that they be found and brought to Chechnya. The detainees were released late at night. Sources from the Russian LGBT Network emphasized that there were no objective reasons for the detentions.

Brothers Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov were arrested in Chechnya in April 2020 and accused of making “offensive publications.” (One of them later made a public apology). They left Chechnya for Nizhny Novgorod in July 2020 with the help of the Russian LGBT Network. In February 2021, however, police officers in Nizhny Novgorod detained Magamadov and Isayev and then sent them to the Chechen town of Gudermes. There, they were interrogated as witnesses in a criminal case, but later released. Soon after, Magamadov and Isayev were arrested once again — this time on suspicion of involvement in an illegal armed group. They now face up to 15 years in prison.

On March 17, Isayev and Magamadov’s mother, Zara Magamadova, made a public appeal to Russia’s Human Rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova, seeking help for her sons. On March 23, this information was transferred to the republican investigation department, and Moskalkova stated that she had taken personal control over the situation.

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