Russian opposition activist Leonid Razvozzhayev says he was abducted and forced into a van by Russian Federation intelligence agents, denied food and use of the bathroom for three days, and was told that his family would be killed if he didn’t sign a confession.
“They promised to kill me. I was abducted in Ukraine and tortured,” he said in a video that was posted on Youtube earlier this week. Razvozzhayev, an aide to State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov of the opposition party A Just Russia, was being led from court to a police car when he made the comment.
According to Radio Free Europe, Razvozzhayev surrendered to authorities and wrote a 10-page statement that he was plotting to cause mass unrest throughout Russia. The confession states that he worked in collaboration with Left Front opposition movement leader Sergei Udaltsov, and opposition activist Konstantin Lebedev.
Valery Borshchyov, the head of the human rights group Moscow Public Supervisory Commission, told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency what Razvozzhayev told him: “four men dragged [Razvozzhayev] into a minibus, tied his arms and legs with Scotch tape and put a hat on him to prevent him from seeing anything.”
“He didn’t eat for three days, couldn’t go to the toilet, they were trying to force him to do what they wanted him to. That’s his own words. We got the impression he was telling the truth,” Borshchyov continued. Razvozzhayev told Borshchyov he believes he was being held in the Russian Bryansk region near Ukraine around Oct. 21.
The rights defender added that Razvozzhayev was not beaten but “there was just terrible psychological torture, and he was forced to give false evidence.”
The U.N. refugee agency said that Razvozzhayev disappeared while he was seeking asylum in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.
In a statement, agency said that he went “to a nearby cafeteria for lunch and left his personal belongings in the office” and did not return. The asylum lawyer could not reach him via telephone, and a missing person’s report was filed shortly thereafter.
Razvozzhayev left Russia and sought asylum in Ukraine after he, Udaltsov, and Lebedev were questioned by Russian agents on Oct. 17, reported Radio Free Europe. A criminal case opened against the three shortly after the questioning.
Amnesty International on Thursday said that Razvozzhayev’s torture allegations should be investigated by the Russian government.
“Allegations that Leonid Razvozzhayev was abducted by Russian Federation government agents and tortured or subjected to other forms of ill-treatment are extremely disturbing and the Russian Federation must ensure such allegations are promptly, effectively and independently investigated,” David Diaz-Jogeix of Amnesty said in a statement.
Diaz-Jogeix acknowledged that it is unclear if Ukraine had a role in Razvozzhayev’s alleged abduction, but that should be determined in an independent investigation.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Central Investigation Committee announced that it would investigate the torture allegations, but stressed that Razvozzhayev did not officially tell the agency that he was tortured or kidnapped, state-run RT reported.
Vladimir Markin, a committee spokesman, told RT that Razvozzhayev turned himself in “in order to write a confession.”
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