The New word in the fight against terrorism is that the security forces have started to detain migrants for disorderly conduct, and then to accuse them of particularly serious crimes.
Demonstrators and street activists, repeatedly brought to administrative responsibility, are now risking being criminally charged for political reasons: just remember Dadin, Kotov, the «Sanitary case”.
Evgeny Enikeyev, a former member of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission and now freelance journalist of the data division of Novaya Gazeta, discovered that the conversion of administrative offences into criminal charges concerns not only the well-known political prisoners, but also unknown migrants, who have no opportunity to tell their stories. Quite often they don’t speak Russian well, don’t sit on Facebook, don’t know journalists and don’t have access to normal lawyers. On rare occasions, their cases become known by chance, only through encounters with human rights activists in special detention centres for administrative detainees. As a rule, they are represented in courts by appointed lawyers, whose actions look as if they are in the service of the Investigative Committee.
(mainly terrorism-related: 205, 205.1-205.6 of the Criminal Code). And operational support is often provided by the FSB. A man who cannot stand up for himself is locked up several times under false accusations and after his release from jail, he is charged with some very serious crimes.
Why exactly are we talking about a «scheme»? Anyone who knows criminal law and practice in «benign» criminal cases understands that no one catches normal terrorists, bandits, thieves and murderers that way. A person who is suspected of a crime is taken into custody in criminal proceedings on the basis of some evidence, not in administrative proceedings for spitting on the pavement. Evidence is found in the course of investigative actions: interrogations, searches, seizures, operational investigative measures. Not as a result of putting pressure on a person. Here it is the other way around: first the arrest, then the evidence. In addition to the law enforcement agencies, questions have arisen in relation to the judges who sent the people involved in this investigation to administrative detention. Article 26.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences stipulates that circumstances mitigating administrative liability and circumstances aggravating administrative liability shall be clarified. In accordance with Article 4.3 of the Code, repeated commission of a similar administrative offence is also considered an aggravating circumstance. Out of the 22 repeat resolutions, it is only in one case that the court established whether the person had been previously held administratively liable. Also, all the rulings imputed to people the same standard actions: «violated public order, expressed a clear disrespect for society, waved his hands, and used foul language». At the same time, the court did not establish the reasons for this behaviour, although, based on the text of the rulings and the available evidence, all of these people were not under the influence of alcohol (or other) intoxication. Moreover, none of the court’s rulings which we examined was provided with objective evidence of the serious offence (such as a video recording) and the judges relied only on police reports, stating that «the court has no reason to doubt the evidence contained in the case file».
How we discovered it
A global analysis of judicial acts for correlation between administrative and criminal cases helped us uncover the scheme. Novaya Gazeta’s data-centre checked court acts for coincidence of names and initials of people subjected to multiple administrative arrests under Article 20.1 (disorderly conduct) and Article 19.3 (disobedience to a lawful order of a police officer) with the names and initials of those against whom the investigation authorities had filed motions for arrest on charges of criminal offence, and thus revealed potential victims of such scheme.
Thus, we selected only those administrative cases which had a maximum of 17 days between them (15 days is the maximum period of administrative arrest plus two days is the maximum time of detention without a court order). We also filtered out those who had actually committed a misdemeanour at some point and were caught in the act of committing an actual criminal offence (usually of a domestic nature) sometime later. There were 3 such cases out of 13 we found.
Already in the course of our research, we noticed that the administrative detentions in the cases that our automatic search detected took place near the buildings of the police department. This is not a common occurrence. Where do the police usually apprehend citizens for administrative offences? In crowded public places: subways, train stations, crowded streets. The backstreets where IAB stands are usually not very crowded. We can assume that someone drove pseudo-hooligans straight to the police station to draw up an untrue administrative report, and the police officers, not thinking that this anomaly would be noticed, wrote the address of the house next door.
The idea to conduct such a search came about after a close examination of the case of Islombek Kamalov, about whom Novaya had already written. He had been subjected to administrative prosecution in December 2018 under the articles: «Disobedience to a lawful order of a police officer» and «Disorderly conduct». Kamalov served a total of 28 days in special reception centres in Moscow under the administrative articles, after which, on 12 January 2019, a criminal case was opened against him under Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code («Organising the activities of a terrorist organisation and participation in the activities of such an organisation») and he was placed in a remand centre.
By setting up a search for court records by analogy to the Kamalov case, we achieved the parameters for sifting out the cases that mentioned above. Thanks to this analysis we were able to find out that Kamalov’s case is not the only case where, before a criminal case is initiated, suspects are repeatedly sent to administrative detention, accused of petty hooliganism or of disobeying a lawful demand of a police officer.
We have managed to find 11 other defendants in criminal cases with a similar history. Unfortunately, the main difficulty is that the fact that the court decisions about law violation have either not yet been published, or most often are missing data about the place, date and time of the offence, the advocate and the chosen punishment.
Unfortunately, verdicts on terrorist affairs are not published — citing state security — but listeners can come to the proceedings and make an audio recording of the trial. Only the defendant’s name, the articles of the Criminal Code and the result of the criminal case — conviction or acquittal — are published on the court’s official website. In particular, the public knows nothing about the defendants in terrorist cases, not even what about they are accused of, let alone about the arguments and evidence presented by the parties.
Therefore, the only source of meaningful information about the verdict in a criminal case can only be the convict himself or his lawyer. Lawyers (usually by appointment) did not talk to us in most cases. At the same time, there are almost always different lawyers at the pre-trial investigation and in court. We cannot even write to the prisoners themselves — we don’t know in which penal colonies they are held. So, we tried to contact the prisoners by contacting the Federal Penitentiary Service, but they refused to provide us with information, citing the law on the protection of personal data.
Ikrom Isroilovich Tukhtasinov became a champion in administrative arrests. Various courts in Moscow and Moscow Oblast have issued eight rulings to hold administrative liability in the form of arrest. Mediazona (the edition recognised as a «foreign agent» media outlet) and the Movement for Human Rights (recognised as a «foreign agent» and later liquidated) wrote about it.
In them stands out the ruling by Judge Bibikova O.E. of the Shchelkovo City Court, which mentions witnesses. They turned out to be some K.F. Mironenkov and K.I. Demidov, the latter, according to the court ruling, reported the offence to the police. Herewith, a man with the same surname and initials was prosecuted in autumn 2019 for stealing a bicycle, but the case was dropped for reconciliation of the parties.
A similar scheme of bringing previously prosecuted individuals, often dependent on police officers, as witnesses for the prosecution, was described by journalist Ivan Golunov in Meduza (the media is recognised as a «foreign agent»).
In total, Ikrom spent more than 70 days in custody. After his arrest the last time, on 15 October 2020, lawyer Mansur Gilmanov succeeded in overturning the decision of the Sergiev Posad City Court on appeal. The grounds for reversing the decision were, among other things, the court’s doubts that the citizen being prosecuted could get from the special detention centre in Lyubertsy to the place of detention in Sergiev Posad in 40 minutes. Ikrom was released.
But in September 2020 (between administrative arrests) a criminal case was brought against Tukhtasinov under Article 139 of the Criminal Code, «Violation of the inviolability of the home». Lawyers believe that the real reason for this persecution is that Tukhtasinov is on the wanted list in his motherland (Kyrgyzstan) for political reasons.
The second highest number of administrative charges was against Ramazon Sheravganovich Davlatov. He had seven charges but spent about 25 days in administrative detention. Why so few?
He received his first 7 days of administrative arrest on 13 December 2017 for disobeying police demands near the Chekhovskaya metro station (Strastnoy Boulevard, 6), 300 metres from where the Tverskoy District Police Department is located. After his release (the period of arrest was calculated from the moment of actual detention: December 12, 2017 at 21.25) from Special detention facility No. 2 (located at 6, bld. 2, Mnevniki Street) on December 19, 2017 at 21.30, police officers of the Khoroshevo-Mnevniki district detained Davlatov in a nearby yard, at 10, bld. 4, Mnevniki Street, charging him with petty hooliganism. This case (the second) was heard on 20 December 2017. Khoroshevsky District Court states that Davlatov can get away with a fine. But on the same day, at 3.50 p.m., he was detained for the third time in the court of General Glagoleva Street, 4, across the street from where the police station for the Khoroshevo-Mnevniki district (General Glagoleva Street, 3) was located at the time in Building No. 3 on the same street. He was charged with the same article of the Administrative Offences Code and, on December 21, the same court again sentenced him to a fine.
And at 9.30 p. m. that same day, in the neighbouring district of Yuzhnoe Tushino, Davlatov is detained by a district police officer at a distance of 170 metres from the police station, near the house at 42 Skhodnenskaya Street. The next day, 22 December, the Tushino district court sentences Davlatov to 11 days in jail. It is most likely that he also served this arrest in Special Detention Centre No 2 in Khoroshevo-Mnevniki, because two subsequent files on the administrative offences imputed to him (under the same articles) again found their way to the Khoroshevsky District Court, where on 28 and 29 December 2017 the judges refused to consider these cases at all and sent them back to the police. Unfortunately, we were unable to find out the details of these two detentions because publication of the refusal rulings is not provided for by current law. Then on January 3, 2018, the Ostankinsky district court found him guilty of disorderly conduct, but we don’t know the term because the court has not published the ruling on this case. And as early as 11 January, Davlatov is placed in a pre-trial detention centre as a suspect in a crime under part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code. And on 4 April 2019, the 2nd Western District Military Court issued a guilty verdict against him, but as to which one, and for whatever reason, remains unknown.
The Pattayev case
Bilodin Kamilovich Pattayev was detained for the first time on 23 June 2020 at 1.20am. at the address: Moscow, Volzhsky Boulevard, quarter 95, k. 2, for «petty hooliganism». On the same day (23.06.2020) the Kuzminsky district court sentenced him to a fine. In the evening of the same evening, at 9.30 pm. Pattayev was detained in a neighbouring district of Moscow at 40a Privolnaya Street and charged with Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences — failure to obey a lawful demand of a police officer. On 25 June, another judge of the Kuzminskiy District Court sentenced Pattayev to 15 days of administrative arrest.
The day after Pattayev’s release from the detention centre, on 9 July, the same Kuzminskiy court placed him in an investigative isolator on suspicion of committing a crime under part 2, Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code. In April this year, the 2nd Western District Military Court found Pattayev guilty of aiding and abetting terrorist activities and sentenced him to eight years, three of them in prison. Pattayev and his «accomplice» (Ummatkulov Shakhzoda Ikroma ugli) were accused of preparing a terrorist attack on the day of the Victory Day parade on June 24, 2020. Georgy Ivanov, a member of the Moscow PMC who visited Pattayev in the detention centre in 2021, said that Pattayev confirmed that he had indeed been detained on the above-mentioned administrative charges and beaten at the police station. Pattayev did not want to write a statement about this to the law-enforcement bodies and refused the help of human rights defenders. During the consideration of the criminal case in court, Mr. Pattayev did not mention the beatings and administrative arrests and pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him. Ummatkulov, on the contrary, actively told the court about how he was beaten after his arrest, and partially pleaded guilty (under Part 2 of Art. 205.2 — «Public calls to terrorist activity, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism on the Internet»; Part. Part 1.1 of Article 205.1 — — «Public calls to terrorist activity, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism on the Internet»; par. 1.1 Art. 205.1 — «Incitement, recruitment or other involvement of a person in the commission of at least one of the terrorist offences»; para. 1.1 of art. 205.1 — «Financing of terrorism»).
Ikromiddin Ilkhomiddin Ugli Tukhtasinov (not a relative of the above mentioned Ikrom Tukhtasinov, as far as we know) was brought to administrative responsibility four times immediately before his criminal prosecution. The first was an administrative offence under Article 18.8 of the CAO — for violating migration law: on 8 November 2019, he was stopped by police officers in the metro for a document check, and on the same day the Meshchansky District Court ordered his administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation in the form of a controlled self-exit. The imposition under this article was incidental, and, judging by the published court order, legal. However, on November 22, the day when Tukhtasinov was about to depart for his homeland in execution of the court decision (he had plane tickets purchased), he was detained by law enforcement officers as he was leaving the house where he was staying in Moscow. This was confirmed by Georgy Ivanov, a member of the Moscow PMC who interviewed him in the pre-trial detention centre. According to the order of the Tushinsky District Court, Tukhtasinov was detained at 1:00pm at 2 Svobody Street, Moscow. He was also charged with disorderly conduct, for which the court imposed a penalty of seven days of administrative arrest. The second time he was detained on the day of his release at 2:10pm near house 31, Koshtoyants St., 400 meters (five minutes walk) from the police station at Vernadsky Prospect. The Nikulinsky District Court found Tukhtasinov guilty and sentenced him to 10 days of administrative arrest. On 4 December 2019, a preventive measure in the form of detention was selected in relation to him in a criminal case initiated under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code. The criminal case is currently pending in the 2nd Western District Military Court. The proceedings are suspended on the grounds of «mental disorder or other serious illness that excludes the possibility of the defendant’s appearance».
Talant Berdibekovich Onurov, a 32-year-old native of Kyrgyzstan, is a fourth-degree hearing impaired. According to his aunt, on 25 September 2019, Talant told his mother that he would go to Bishkek to look for work, and a week later an acquaintance called them to say that Talant was in Moscow. After this, relatives in Kyrgyzstan tried to look for him through acquaintances and migrant chat rooms in Moscow, and also filed a complaint to the Kyrgyz police.
According to an order from the Zyuzinsky District Court, Onurov was detained on 11 October 2019 at 6:10pm at a bus stop near the house at 13 Remizova Street. This building formerly housed the Kotlovka district police station. According to relatives, Talant called them in early October and informed them that he was near the «Yasenevo» metro station, at which point the phone cut off. The court sentenced Onurov to 10 days of administrative detention.
After his release on 21 October, when he left the detention centre, Talant was met by acquaintances, as had requested his relatives from Kyrgyzstan. But on the same day, police officers detained Onurov in the metro, while two other acquaintances were released. That same day, according to the decision of Preobrazhensky district court, at 21.00 Talant Onurov is detained in the Golyanovo district (on Baikalskaya street near house 18, building 1) for committing disorderly conduct and on 23 October the court sentences him to eight days of administrative arrest in the Special Receiver No. 1.
On 3 November, Cheremushkinski District Court placed Onurov in pre-trial detention as part of a criminal case under part 1 of Article 205 of the Criminal Code.
On 19 February 2021, the 2nd Western District Military Court sentenced him to seven years of prison on charges of attempted terrorist acts and public calls for terrorist activities on the Internet.
Shukhrat Abdishokirjanovich Abdugapurov is a 27-year-old native of Kyrgyzstan. He was detained by police on 17 September 2019 at 10 a.m. at 3 Novokhokhlovskaya Street and charged with petty hooliganism. The next day, 18 September, the Lefortovo District Court sentenced him to a fine, and on the same day at 20.55 Abdugapurov was again detained by police officers in the Kotlovka district. On 19 September, the Zyuzinsky District Court found Abdugapurov guilty of disorderly conduct and sent him to administrative detention for 12 days. We do not know the exact address of the detention because, despite an editorial request sent to the court, the ruling was not published in proper form.
On 1 October, i.e. the day after Abdugapurov’s release, the Meshchansky district court selects a preventive measure of detention for him in the case of participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation. On 30 July 2020, the 2nd Western District Military Court finds Abdugapurov guilty of recruitment and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation.
Umarjon Abduvokhidovich Saidov is a native of the Republic of Tajikistan, a 31-year-old Russian citizen. He was twice brought to administrative responsibility for petty hooliganism. The first time he was detained on 6 September 2018 at 3pm. And on the same day, the Zyuzinsky District Court sentenced him to 13 days of administrative arrest. Saidov’s second administrative arrest of 10 days was imposed by the Cheremushkin District Court of Moscow on 19 September, the day he was released. We do not know anything more about his detention because the court published this ruling, deleting almost all the facts from it. On 27 September, the Meshchansky District Court ordered Saidov’s placement in a pre-trial detention centre on charges of recruitment to a terrorist organisation. About a year later, on 3 October 2019, the 2nd Western District Military Court convicted Saidov, finding him guilty of the alleged crime.
N.A. Abdurazakov was detained on 14 March 2018 at 12:45am in the Cheremushki district of Moscow, the next day the district court found him guilty of disorderly conduct and imposed a 10-day administrative detention. On 24 March Abdurazakov was released from Special detention facility No. 1 (located at 2G, Simferopolsky Boulevard) at 1:30pm, and at about 1.45pm he was detained by police in a neighbouring yard (near the house at 11 Fruktovaya Street). At about 1.45pm he was detained by the police for refusing to show his documents to an operations officer of Center for Combating Extremism, who was conducting an «inspection of operational service territory to identify people that have fled from law enforcement agencies and terrorist and extremist-minded individuals,» during which «a man of Asian appearance was seen».
It should be noted that this is the only court ruling on an administrative offence from this list that somehow overlaps with subsequent criminal charges of terrorist activity, rather than containing the standard phrases going from one court decision to another that the citizen «used foul language, did not respond to comments, thus violating public order and expressing a clear lack of respect for society». On 5 April 2018, the day before his release from the special detention centre, the Kuzminsky district court decides to place Abdurazakov in a remand prison on suspicion of committing a crime under Article 205.6 of the Criminal Code — «Failure to report a crime of terrorist nature». But the criminal case against him appears to have fallen apart, because no conviction against him can be found on the court’s website.
Sotvoldiyev and Grimsultanov
In two of the 11 cases we found, the courts refused to impose preventive measures in criminal cases after serving administrative arrests: in the cases of Ilhombek Oybek Sotvoldiev, an Uzbek national, and A.T. Grimsultanov, a Russian citizen. Both were suspected of committing a crime under article 205.6 of the Criminal Code, "Failure to report a terrorist offence. What they have in common not only the article, but also the fact that both have pleaded not guilty in administrative cases: Sotvoldiev only in the first administrative case of disorderly conduct, and Grimsultanov in both cases.
Grimsultanov explained to the court during the first case that "he did not commit hooliganism on 30 May 2018, as he had already been detained by law enforcement officers at the Kashirsky post on 29 May 2018, after which he was taken to the Kotlovka district of Moscow. Kotlovka district of Moscow and handed him over to officers of the OMVD of Russia in the Kotlovka district of Moscow. He was then taken to the Kotlovka district of Moscow and handed over to officers of the OMVD of Russia in the Kotlovka district of Moscow. No one explained to him the reasons for his detention and he did not commit any illegal actions. It follows from the resolution that on 30 May Grimsultanov was detained at 12 Nagornaya Street, bld. 4, 100 meters away from which there is a police station for the Kotlovka district (6 Nagornaya Street).
During his second trial for disorderly conduct, Grimsultanov told the court: "Based on the ruling of the Zyuzinsky District Court of Moscow, from 31.05.2018 to 09.06.2018 he was serving a sentence of administrative detention in the First Special Receiver. On 09.06.2018, at around 03:15am, he was released from the detention centre and immediately detained by police officers. They put him in a police car and took him to the police department, on the way they transferred him to another car and brought him to the Department of Internal Affairs of Russia at <dated deleted by the court. - Ed.>. was placed in a detention cell, his fingerprints were taken, and sometime later they brought documents and told him to sign them, promising that he would then be released. He did not commit an administrative offence and did not use foul language. He also disagreed with the decision of the Zyuzinskiy District Court of Moscow to impose administrative liability on him, but did not appeal against it. The same circumstances were confirmed by his lawyer, who at the request of his relatives met his client near the detention centre on 09.06.2018 at 03:15am and saw how, after leaving the detention centre, Grimsultanov was detained by police officers, put in a police car and taken away in an unknown direction.
Begali Tozhievich Mardoyev has formally been brought to administrative responsibility only once, but this story fits perfectly under the scenario described above. For the first time the material on his case was submitted by police officers to the Tushinsky District Court on 27 September, but Judge Krapchetova returned it back to the police station due to incomplete information as well as discrepancies between the documents: the protocol on administrative offence lacked explanations from the person involved, there was no evidence attached to it of the offence committed by Mardoev, and the time of detention was indicated earlier than the time of the offence.
The next day, September 28, the same judge Krapchetova, on the basis of the amended case file, sentenced Mardoev to five days in detention for disorderly conduct, under Article 20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences.
As alleged in the case file, Mardoev was detained on 26 September 2018 at 23:30 at 97 Svoboda Street, Moscow, for "using foul language in the courtyard of the house, waving his hands, obstructing the passage of citizens".
On October 1, Mardoyev was released at 11.50 p.m., and already on October 2 the Ostankinsky district court placed him in investigative isolator on suspicion of committing crime within art. 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - "incitement of hatred or hostility". Later, the investigation will reclassify the article he is charged with to a more serious one: part 1 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code - "Public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism". On 21 March 2019, Mardoev was convicted by the 2nd Western District Military Court under Part 1 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code to two years' imprisonment to be served in a penal colony. As of October 1, 2019, he was transferred to a general regime colony. He had 15 penalties. He was released on 30 September 2020.
This is a translation of the original article published in Novaya Gazeta on October 21, 2021.