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23rd February 2021, 12:03:16 UTC

Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev were abducted by police in Central Russia and forcibly transferred to Chechnya. They are being prosecuted on spurious charges solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including in connection with their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. All charges against them must be dropped and they must be released immediately.
On 4 February, twenty-year-old Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev, who was 17 at the time, were arbitrarily detained by police at a flat in Central Russia. In an abduction-style operation, they were forcibly transferred to Chechnya. They were questioned and released, only to be immediately re-arrested and taken away.

On 17 March, Salekh and Ismail were finally allowed a visit from their lawyers and told them of their ill-treatment and multiple violations of fair trial guarantees, including being forced to sign a “confession” and to refuse the services of the lawyer of their choice.

Salekh and Ismail are being prosecuted and face up to 15 years in jail on spurious charges solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including in connection with their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Salekh and Ismail have long been targeted by Chechen authorities. In March 2020 they were arbitrarily detained and tortured for exercising their right to freedom of expression. They were released in May 2020 after a video with their forced “apologies” was published on the Internet. Fearing further reprisals, Salekh and Ismail fled Chechnya.

Demand the immediate release of Salekh and Ismail, and that all charges against them be dropped.

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