Reverse sentencing of Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee ask that the 5th Court of Cassation of General jurisdiction in Pyatigorsk, reverse the sentence of the two Chechen siblings Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev.

Furthermore, we ask that any re-examination of the facts of the case should take place outside of the Chechen republic, to ensure they will get an unbiased consideration. 

A hearing in the Court of Cassation is scheduled for 25 October 2022.  

Unsubstantiated claims 

Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev were sentenced to respectively 8 and 6 years imprisonment, for alleged complicity with illegal armed formations, on 22 February 2022. These claims have not been substantiated by evidence. 

During the time since their first detention in 2020, they have been exposed to torture and ill-treatment, have been denied access to their lawyer, legal deadlines in the case have been ignored, and pressure has been imposed on both themselves and their family.   

Witnesses for the prosecution have admitted that they did not testify against Salekh and Ismail, but that they have simply signed papers from the investigator. 

In September 2021, the Human rights Center Memorial proclaimed them as political prisoners. 

We consider that the reason for their arrest and conviction is their involvement with the Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95”, a channel containing messages critical of the Chechen authorities. Also, we believe that Magamadov and Ismail Isaev were targeted as part of the Governments persecution of the Chechen LGBT community. The latter also make their situation in prison more acute. They are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, as well as violence from other prisoners.  

Ismail Isaev.

Arbitrary detentions 

Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev were initially detained in April 2020 by the Chechen police and held at the premises of the patrol police regiment named after Akhmad Kadyrov.  

There, according to their account, they were tortured and otherwise ill-treated, allegedly for moderating the independent youth Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95”. They were released after two months, after a humiliating video with their “apologies” had been published on the Internet.  

Since July 2020, they found a temporary shelter in Nizhny Novgorod due to ongoing concerns over their safety. On 4 February 2021, Nizhny Novgorod special purpose police unit (OMON) detained Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev at this residence. They were brought to the police station of Gudermes district, Republic of Chechnya. 

On 6 February, police questioned the men at Gudermes district police station, without informing them about the grounds of their detention and not allowing the lawyer to talk to them. On 7 February the aid of the head of the Chechen Republic and the minister of information and press announced that Magamadov and Isaev confessed to being complicit with a member of an illegal armed group.  

Lack of compliance with international human rights standards 

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has been closely monitoring the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic for many years. It is our assessment that serious human rights violations, which in some cases might amount to international crimes are frequent, including mass arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, and extrajudicial killings are being committed on a regular basis.  

The Russian authorities are ultimately responsible for the violence and intimidation against critics and opponents of Chechnya’s leadership, including physical attacks, torture, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.  

We do not consider that trial of Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev was provided with full legal due process protection according to international law on the rights and protection of detainees and fair trial standards, and we encourage the cassation court to rule on these grounds. 

  • Our recommendation to the 5th Court of Cassation of General jurisdiction in Pyatigorsk that the verdict against Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev be reversed, and that they should be released; 
  • If the case would be assigned for re-examination, we ask that this happen outside of the territory of the Chechen republic, to allow for consideration without the bias that has been publicly displayed by Chechen public figures; 
  • We urge that the Russian authorities to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev, as part as Russia’s obligation to the International human rights standards for treatment of prisoners. 

For more information, contact:


Mina Wikshåland Skouen

Senior Adviser Equal RightsEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 90 82 50 76
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Inna Sangadzhieva

Director for Europe and Central AsiaEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 94 58
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