TORTURE AND RAPE STALK THE STREETS OF CHECHNYA
[Guardian (UK), 10/28/02]:
At 5am on 14 April 2002, an armoured vehicle moved slowly down Soviet Street. A young brown-haired man, covered in blood, his hands and feet bound, stood onboard. The vehicle stopped and the man was pushed off and brought over to a nearby chain-link fence. The car took off and there was a loud bang. The force of the explosion, caused either by a grenade or dynamite, sent the man's head flying into the neighbouring street, called Lenin's Commandments. 'It was difficult to photograph the moment, though I have grown somewhat accustomed to this,' says a petite greying Chechen woman, who has spent years documenting what Russia calls its 'anti-terrorism campaign'.
Blowing people up, dead or alive, she reports, is the latest tactic introduced by the federal army into the conflict. It was utilised perhaps most effectively on 3 July in the village of Meskyer Yurt, where 21 men, women and children were bound together and blown up, their remains thrown into a ditch.
From the perspective of the perpetrators, this method of killing is highly practical; it prevents the number of bodies from being counted, or possibly from ever being found. It has not always succeeded in this respect, however. Since the spring, dogs have been digging up body parts in various corners of Chechnya, sometimes almost daily…
Meanwhile, the more traditional methods endure. On 9 September the bodies of six men from Krasnostepnovskoye were found, naked, with plastic bags wrapped around their heads. In June, a ditch containing 50 mutilated bodies was discovered near the Russian army post in Chankala. The corpses were missing eyes, ears, limbs and genitals. Since February, mass graves have been found near Grozny, Chechen Yurt, Alkhan-Kala and Argun...