Lawyer charged with ‘public insult’ in Dagestan after alleging beating by police

A human rights lawyer from Russia is facing ­criminal charges for ’public insult of state officials while on duty’ after alleging she was beaten by police.

Sapiyat Magomedova, a criminal and human rights lawyer who works at Omarov & Partners in Dagestan, was visiting a client at Khasavyurt Police Station on 17 June when, she alleges, she was denied access to her client and taken to a security checkpoint by four officers from the special intervention unit, who beat her unconscious.

Following the attack Magomedova was charged with public insult of state officials while on duty. If found guilty she faces a fine and risks being stripped of her licence. Restrictions were issued on 30 ­September preventing her from travelling to Moscow.

“This case is particularly disturbing because it falls within a pattern of violations by law enforcement ­agencies,” commented Denis Krivosheev, a researcher at Amnesty International, who added that there have been four reported attacks against lawyers in Dagestan this year. In all but one case the alleged attackers were police; in the fourth, the attackers were unknown.

Magomedova filed a ­complaint against the police in June. Her case echoes that of Sergey Magnitsky, who died in custody last year after being charged with tax evasion (The Lawyer, 30 November 2009).