Inquiry Begins Into Razvozzhayev’s Abduction – Human Rights Activists

Leonid Razvozzhayev file photo with hand to ear, as if holding cellphone

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – An inquiry into the abduction of Russian opposition figure Leonid Razvozzhayev in Ukraine has begun, Moscow Public Oversight Commission head and Moscow Helsinki Group member Valery Borshchev said.

Commission members again visited Razvozzhayev at the Lefortovo detention facility on Wednesday.

“A detective has been assigned to investigate the abduction. Razvozzhayev has met with him,” Borshchev told Interfax after the visit to Lefortovo.

“Razvozzhayev has made a statement to express his lack of confidence in the investigator to whom the abductors transferred him,” Borshchev said.

“Razvozzhayev has got back his clothes. We saw traces of Scotch tape there. This is important material evidence of Razvozzhayev’s psychological torture,” Borshchev said.

Interfax has not obtained relevant police comment.

Human rights activists quoted Razvozzhayev earlier as saying that his hands had been tied with Scotch tape when he was abducted in Ukraine so that the handcuffs left no traces.

“Actually, he is all right now. He is being treated normally at the detention facility,” Borshchev said.

He said the commission would continue to monitor the Razvozzhayev situation. “We will try to visit him regularly, at least once a week,” the human rights activist said.

In his words, the police tried to prevent a meeting of commission members with Razvozzhayev on Wednesday. They were not permitted to visit his cell for 1.5 hours under the pretext of a lack of permission from the Federal Penitentiary Service.

The commission has the right to free access to detention facilities for exercising public control over their operation.

Commission members visited Razvozzhayev in Lefortovo for the first time on October 23. He told them he was abducted in Ukraine, brought to Moscow and forced to make a confession.

Members of the Presidential Human Rights Council hope to meet with Razvozzhayev, too.

The Human Rights Council reported on its Web site on Wednesday that it had obtained a report by the Public Control Commission on visiting Razvozzhayev in Lefortovo.

“We will analyze this report, but we will continue seeking to visit Razvozzhayev to hear everything from his own lips,” Human Rights Council head Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax on Wednesday.

Borshchev said that the report on visiting Razvozzhayev in Lefortovo had been sent to the prosecutor general, the head of the Investigative Committee, the Justice Minister, the human rights ombudsman and the Russian president.

A criminal case against Left Front coordinator Udaltsov, his aide Lebedev and Razvozzhayev, who is an aide to State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, was opened on October 17.

The three have been charged with preparing mass disorder, a crime covered by Criminal Code Articles 30 and 212, based on the documentary film Anatomy of Protest 2 shown by NTV on October 5.

Udaltsov and Lebedev were shortly summoned for questioning to the Investigative Committee, and their apartments were searched. Lebedev is under arrest at least until December 16, while Udaltsov was allowed to remain free with travel restrictions.

Razvozzhayev had not been found and was declared wanted. State Duma deputy Ponomaryov announced on October 21 that his aide had been detained in Kyiv and transported to Moscow. The Investigative Committee claimed that Razvozzhayev had voluntarily turned himself in to the Investigative Committee and confessed to what he had been charged with.

Razvozzhayev told human rights defenders that he was abducted in Kyiv while seeking political asylum, tortured until he made a confession and brought to Moscow. The Basmanny Court ordered his arrest.

The Investigative Committee said Razvozzhayev did not officially declare that he had been tortured. At the same time, the committee said it would look into the allegations, including media reports, that Razvozzhayev could have been tortured.

Lawyer Mark Feigin, who visited Razvozzhayev in Lefortovo, told Interfax on October 25 his client had retracted is confessions as those made under pressure.