Russia: Magomedova

 Sapiyat Magomedova is a criminal and human rights lawyer whose law firm is known for taking on cases relating to abductions, torture and extrajudicial executions in Dagestan. As a result of Ms. Magomedova’s professional duties, she has experienced a continued pattern of harassment and intimidation. 

According to reports, Ms. Magomedova was assaulted by police inside Khasavyurt town police station on June 17th, 2010. She traveled there to visit a client but was denied access. She was subsequently taken to a security checkpoint by four officers from the special intervention unit, who assaulted her until she was unconscious. As a result, Ms. Magomedova was hospitalized for several weeks. 

Following her attack, Ms. Magomedova spoke publicly about her assault. A criminal case was opened against the police officers, but there are allegations that the investigation is being intentionally delayed. The investigation has yet to officially identify suspects, notwithstanding that Ms. Magomedova named the police officer who initiated the assault. 

The police officer that Ms. Magomedova alleges initiated the assault has counter alleged that Ms. Magomedova publicly insulted him. As a result of his allegation, Ms. Magomedova has been charged with “public insult of state officials while on duty”.  If found guilty, she faces a fine and risks disbarment. Ms. Magomedova alleges that false witnesses have testified against her in this case.

Restrictions were also issued preventing her from travelling to Moscow, where legal and medical support is available. While the travel restrictions have been lifted, the criminal charges remain.

In October, Ms. Magomedova challenged the legality of the prosecutor’s decision to open a criminal case against her. Reports indicate several procedural violations that occurred during court hearings. For instance, the hearing of her application began later than is legally mandated and only after a lawyer representing Ms. Magomedova contacted the court about it.  The first hearing on November 1st was adjourned and has since been delayed twice.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations are concerned that Ms. Magomedova remains at risk of further harassment as a result of her allegations against the police. 

Letter of Intervention