(Moscow) – The Russian authorities should immediately investigate the beating of the human rights defender Bakhrom Hamroev and take action against those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today. Hamroev was knocked unconscious by a plainclothes officer after attempting to look on as law enforcement officers raided an apartment on December 7, 2010.
“This outrageous beating should be investigated immediately,” said Anna Sevortian, Moscow director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamroev’s beating is only the latest in a long string of cases of violence and interference in the important work of human rights defenders.”
Hamroev, a longtime human rights defender who works on issues related to Central Asia and Islam with the Memorial Human Rights Center, received a call from an acquaintance whose apartment was being searched for religious literature. Hamroev told Human Rights Watch that he went to the apartment to observe the raid. At least 20 armed, plainclothes officers, some of them masked, took part, he said. Hamroev’s acquaintance told him that the law enforcement officers had not shown a warrant or any other document authorizing the search. Hamroev was not permitted to enter the apartment and waited outside in the courtyard.
In the courtyard, a plainclothes officer approached Hamroev from a waiting car and asked him whom he was protecting and why he was interfering with a special operation. The officer hit Hamroev in the back and head with his fist, knocking him down. When Hamroev tried to stand up, the officer hit him again, knocking him unconscious. Hamroev later called the police and asked for medical assistance, was taken to a hospital, and treated for a concussion. He later lodged a complaint with the police.