Lawyer from Dagestan killed
9 August 2013

Lawyer from Dagestan killed

Russian Federation

On 12 July 2013, lawyer Magomed Guchuchaliev was killed by two unknown men in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. His killing seems to be related to his work. Lawyers in the North Caucasus and criminal defence lawyers in particular, are increasingly subjected to threats and acts of harassment by members of legal enforcement agencies and unknown individuals.

Until September 2012, Magomed Guchuchaliev was working for Kavkaz (advokatskaya kollegiya ‘Kavkaz’), a law firm known for defending persons accused of membership of armed groups. Lawyers from Kavkaz repeatedly alleged that law enforcement agencies fabricated criminal evidence and used torture in relation to their clients. For years, lawyers of this firm have been receiving threats in connection with their professional activities and facing acts of harassment by members of the authorities.

Guchuchaliev is not the only lawyer that worked for Kavkaz that was murdered. His colleague, Omar Saidmagomedov, and his cousin were killed in January 2012 by security officials.  In 2008, Konstantin Mudunov, another colleague of Guchuchaliev, survived an attempt on his life.

The authorities reported the killing of Omar Saidmagomedov and his cousin as a killing of two members of an armed group, although there were allegedly strong allegations that Saigmagomedov was targeted in connection with his work and extra judicially executed. According to our information, these allegations have never been effectively investigated. In addition, a parallel investigation was requested by Omar Saidmagomedov’s colleagues to ensure that the authorities impartially investigated his death, but this led instead to themselves being harassed by investigation officials. 

The situation of lawyers in Dagestan is quickly deteriorating. In June 2013, L4L already organized a letter writing campaign for two threatened and intimidated lawyers from Dagestan. L4L  now also called upon the Russian authorities to carry out  a prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the killing of Magomed Guchuchaliev, so as to identify all those responsible and bring them to justice.

 

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