Moscow Attack Triggers Intense Debate on Russia’s Human Rights Record: Allegations of Torture and Extrajudicial Detentions

By Eleanor Harrison Mar25,2024
Putin Blames Ukraine and “Radical Islamists”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine of being involved in the recent terrorist attack near Moscow, which resulted in over 130 casualties. During a televised meeting on Monday, Putin stated that the shooting was committed by radical Islamists and could be part of a broader intimidation campaign in Ukraine. He also suggested that this act of terror may be one of many attempts by individuals who have been at odds with Russia due to the conflict with Ukraine since 2014.

The focus on the four suspects currently in custody shifted several days after the attack. The Russian judiciary ordered pre-trial detention for three more individuals involved in the attack, bringing the total number of terror suspects in custody to seven. On Monday, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow made the decision to detain an additional four suspects, bringing the total number of arrested suspects to eleven. Four main perpetrators appeared before a judge on Sunday evening. Despite Islamic State claiming responsibility for the attack multiple times, Putin and other Russian officials have accused Ukraine without presenting evidence. The White House dismissed these claims as Kremlin propaganda, emphasizing that the attack was carried out by fighters from the Islamic State terrorist militia.

Human rights activists condemned the alleged torture of suspects by Russian security forces, stating that violence and harassment could lead investigations astray and increase societal willingness to use violence. Russia’s human rights association “Komanda protiw pytok” (Team Against Torture) criticized such actions following Sunday’s public display of cruelty by power apparatus following the attack as an attempt to divert attention from failure of Russian secret services prior to incident. With 97 injured individuals still receiving treatment in hospitals, the aftermath of this tragic event continues to unfold in Moscow region. Flowers were laid by grieving individuals at an improvised memorial site as a tribute to victims who lost their lives during this heinous crime.

By Eleanor Harrison

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