Deportee from Finland beaten up in Ingushetia

A refugee from Ingushetia was deported from Finland to Russia, and ended up being beaten up by law enforcement agents in Ingushetia. On 29 October 2009 at around 4 am, a group of unidentified armed officials moving in armored vehicles, military trucks, and minivans entered the village of Sunzhenskaya in Ingushetia. The group, claiming to be members of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), burst into the house of the Makhloev family at 55 Pavlov Street.

The FSB agents forced the family to get up. The agents threw two brothers, Makhsud Khamatkhanovich Makhloev (b. 30 September 1982) and Ibragim Khamatkhanovich Makhloev (b. 27 August 1985) onto the floor. The Makhloevs had their arms and feet tied up with duct tape. Their T-shirts were pulled over their heads and fastened with tape. The brothers were beaten up. The security agents kicked them and hit them with the butts of their submachine guns.

Then the agents dragged Makhsud Makhloev into one of their cars and drove away. Ibragim Makhloev was immediately taken to hospital. I was on the phone with Ibragim today. Doctors had tended to his injuries. He told me that their father had been trying to contact various state officials and law enforcement agencies. All denied having any information about Makhsud Makhloev. As of now, his whereabouts are unknown.

A couple of months ago, I received a request from an Ingush refugee to help him locate Ibragim Makhloev in Finland. My contact told me that Ibragim had decided to seek asylum in Europe due to the continuous harassment of the members of his family. Having relatives in Belgium, Ibragim decided to go there and apply for asylum. Ibragim was in possession of a valid Polish visa. He chose to travel to Belgium via Finland.

On 17 September 2009, Ibragim boarded the train from Moscow to Helsinki. In the morning of 18 September 2009, he crossed the Russian-Finnish border. Finnish border guards took him off the train without any explanations. Ibragim told them that he would spend less than one day in Finland as he was going to proceed to Copenhagen immediately. He had a plane ticket from Copenhagen to Amsterdam where he was supposed to arrive at 9:40 am on 19 September 2009. From there he planned to proceed to Belgium.

Ibragim called his relatives in Belgium to warn them that he was on the Finnish side of the border but that the border guards were taking him off the train. We got word from an acquaintance of the family residing in Belgium. All attempts of my Finnish colleagues to establish Ibragim’s whereabouts and to provide him with a lawyer failed. Some days later, I received a message from my contact that Ibragim had been deported to Russia on 21 September 2009.

When I was talking with Ibragim on the phone today, he told me that his requests to alert his relatives and provide him with a lawyer failed. Before deportation, he was given an official document written in Finnish, but no translation was provided to him. He told me that on his return to Ingushetia, he had not faced any major problems until the events of this morning.

At that, according to the information of human rights groups working in the region, the Makhloevs are one of the most persecuted families in the village of Sunzhenskaya. Several of Ibragim Makhloev’s cousins and second cousins were subjected to arbitrary detention and torture.

According to the Caucasian Knot, Shamil Makhloev, 21, was killed by security agents in broad daylight on 22 August 2009. His mother Mareta recounted how the security agents burst into their house located at 34 Trudovaya Street in the early hours. They failed to identify themselves or present any documents. The agents just took Shamil out into the yard, forced him to stand in front of a warehouse, and shot him. Mareta witnessed the execution herself.

The information was later confirmed in an official press release of the Ingush FSB. The statement claimed that, having obtained information about the whereabouts of an armed militant, they surrounded the house at 34 Trudovaya Street and eliminated one Shamil Makhloev in an armed scuffle. According to the relatives, the group was moving in four white minivans, four armored personnel carriers, and several jeeps, only two of which had Ingush license plates. The other cars were without license plates.

On 14 August 2009, members of an apparent death squad attempted to eliminate Makhsud Makhloev. The attempt failed thanks to the intervention of passers-by, forcing the group to retreat. Makhsud was, however, wounded in the attack. He was taken to hospital where he was guarded by his relatives and friends. The FSB came to the hospital and tried to take him away under the pretext of wanting to “inquire” the origin of his wounds. A bullet had splintered his shoulder. Unable to take Makhsud with them, the FSB agents left.

Ibragim’s friends told me that he used to be a lawyer. Later, he tried to establish a private enterprise involved in construction. Ibragim has never been charged with anything and has not been on a wanted list. He tried to flee Ingushetia and Russia because of the harassment and attacks he and his family members were subjected to. Because of his deportation by Finnish authorities, however, Ibragim’s attempt to find safety has failed.

Oksana Chelysheva

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInVKWordPressBlogger PostLiveJournalTumblrTelegramWhatsAppSMSEmailGoogle GmailOutlook.comMail.RuPrintFriendly
2 Comments
  1. Pingback: WaYNaKH Online » Deportee Asylum Seeker Beaten up and His Brother was Kidnapped

  2. It seems Finnish officials have acted fully in accordance with the law in deporting Ibragim Makhloev. A Schengen visa is no guarantee of the right to enter the Schengen Area. Moreover, Ibragim did not seek protection (i.e. apply for asylum) in Finland. He thus did not have legal grounds for his stay in Finland.

    A citizen of a third country may enter the Schengen Area provided he/she fulfills certain conditions, such as: possession of a valid travel document (passport), a visa, being able to demonstrate the purpose of the journey, possession of sufficient means of subsistence for the period of stay and for the return, etc.

    Ibragim would, most likely, have not succeeded in obtaining asylum in Belgium either: given that he had arrived in the Schengen Area on a Polish visa, Poland would have been responsible under the Schengen Agreement for investigating Ibragim’s asylum application even after his Polish visa had expired.

    Had Ibragim applied for asylum in Finland, he would, most likely, have been deported to Poland. Had he done so, Finnish authorities would, in any case, have been obliged to process the application. A deportation ruling should always be translated, however. It is unclear why Ibragim did not receive a translation.

    On entering Finland, Ibragim told Finnish border guards that he intended to travel through Denmark and the Netherlands to Belgium, which would not be consistent with the grounds for granting a visa to Poland. Finnish authorities probably checked his visa through official channels in Poland.

    During his entry interrogation, Ibragim would have been able to state that he wanted a lawyer. Apparently, he failed to do so. A lawyer would have told the Border Guard that he/she represented Ibragim and that he was applying for asylum. This simple move would have prevented the authorities from deporting Ibragim.

    In this case, then, it seems that there is nothing to approach the Finnish authorities. Giving the impression that Finland is eager to deport all refugees may push people in need to resort to more desperate means to find safety. The fact is, however, that Finland treats refugees better than most European nations.

Leave a Reply