On 6 September it has been a year since the enforced disappearance of 19-year-old Salman Tepsurkaev, the moderator of the Telegram channel 1ADAT that aims to expose human rights violations in Chechnya. Salman’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown, and there is no information if he is alive or dead.
The day after his abduction by men believed to be the Chechen police, a video was posted on social media in which Salman was seen being sexually violated, a “punishment” for his involvement with 1ADAT. Since the publication of this, and several other videos a few days later, there has been no information about his fate and whereabouts. So far, no meaningful steps have been taken by officials to investigate Salman’s disappearance and torture.
Salman courageously helped to expose human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearances, corruption, and other violations carried out by Chechen officials. At this time, it is unknown whether Salman is still alive.
To supress free speech, the Chechen authorities routinely use public humiliation and torture. Terrifyingly, many of those who stood up for human rights or dared to criticise have been imprisoned, tortured, disappeared or killed.