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Russia: justice for victims of concert attack must include addressing evidence of torture

Mass killing at Crocus City Hall must be thoroughly investigated 

Footage suggests one detained suspect had an ear cut off by his interrogators

‘Victims will not obtain justice unless those responsible for this atrocity are held to account in fair trial proceedings’ - Marie Struthers

In response to Friday’s attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow - an attack which left at least 137 people dead and hundreds injured - Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, said:

“We offer our deepest condolences to the victims of this heinous attack and their loved ones - they deserve justice. 

“Justice includes full accountability for those who gave the orders and for the perpetrators, and the whole truth about what happened at the venue and what had led up to it. 

“While horrifying details of this mass killing continue to emerge, the Russian authorities and media sources have provided deeply disturbing - and what appear to be credible - images of the torture of criminal suspects.

“The right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment is absolute and without exception - if committed, it is also a crime and must be addressed as such. 

“Victims will not obtain justice unless those responsible for this atrocity are held to account in fair trial proceedings, fully in line with international standards.”

Gruesome video

On 22 March, several gunmen dressed in combat fatigues opened fire on people present inside Crocus City Hall, before setting it on fire. The attack left at least 137 people dead and 180 injured. The armed group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack and released a gruesome video taken from the bodycam of one of the attackers which shows people being shot with automatic rifles and the throat of one of the concertgoers being cut. On 23 March, a Moscow court ordered the detention of four people apprehended the same day on suspicion of an “act of terrorism”. If found guilty, they could be given up to a life sentence.

One suspect has appeared in court in a wheelchair having sustained serious injuries. Another had a bandage on the right side of his head - earlier footage suggested that his captors had cut his ear off while interrogating him. A third detained suspect has appeared in court with the edges of a plastic bag taped around his neck, suggesting the use of a suffocation technique reportedly used by Russian law-enforcement agencies. All defendants had black eyes and other signs of injuries, while other footage suggests that one of the detainees has been subjected to electrocution by his interrogators.

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