Officials Tight-Lipped About Allegations of Abduction from Former Russian Asylum-Seeker

Ilkin Melikov, 28, a Russian citizen who fled the country in late 2019 after being beaten by the police, was allegedly abducted from Georgia back to Russia in 2022, the Russian-language news service “VOT TAK” reported based on information the agency says it received from Melikov himself. Georgian PM Irakli Kobakhidze told the journalists it was “a lie” but police and security officials provided no clarifications so far.

Melikov apparently told “VOT TAK” that on April 29, 2022, he was abducted by “unknown persons in civilian clothes” and brought from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz in Russia’s North Ossetia province across the border. Melikov also claims he was “forced to sign a paper stating that he was doing so voluntarily” when crossing the border between Georgia and Russia.

Wanted by Russia on terrorism-related charges, Melikov was transferred from Vladikavkaz to Nizhnevartovsk, from where he originally fled to Georgia in 2019.

Melikov’s Case

Ilkin Melikov was reportedly associated with Natik Dzhabiev, the alleged founder of the so-called “Nizhnevartovsk Jamaat,” a small group of four to five locals in the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk. Jabiev was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to prison on terrorism and drug charges.

On September 19, 2019, Melikov was detained by police and questioned as a witness but was not charged. According to Melikov, the police beat him and threatened to plant drugs on him. He was released the same day that he was detained.

Melikov wrote a letter of complaint to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, seeking to open a criminal case against law enforcement officials. However, after receiving no response, he left Russia for Georgia a month later, in October 2019, as he says, out of fear of being arrested.

On November 27, 2019, a criminal case was opened against Melikov under Part 2 of Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code, which provides for “participation in the activities of a terrorist organization.” He was also put on Russia’s wanted list.

In March 2020, his home was searched by the police, and although, as he claims, “nothing forbidden was seized,” he applied for asylum in Georgia on the same day he learned of the search.

According to Melikov, his asylum application was denied in the first instance in April 2022, and although a Court hearing was scheduled on appeal, he says he received a phone call ten minutes before the hearing and was informed that it had been postponed “indefinitely.”

Melikov claims that it was shortly after that, on April 29, 2022, when he was snatched in Tbilisi by “unknown persons in civilian clothes” and brought to Vladikavkaz. Charged with illegal acquisition of explosives, support for terrorism, and preparation for a terrorist attack, he was transferred from Vladikavkaz back to Nizhnevartovsk after ten days.

Claiming that the criminal case against him is fabricated and that he is innocent, Melikov writes in his letter that “Georgia has broken the law and violated an international treaty.”

Tbilisi tight-lipped reached out to the State Security Service and the Interior Ministry for comments but received no answer.

When hassled by the journalists about the matter, Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze curtly responded that the information was “incorrect.” He added: “Anyone can say anything, but I repeat, you can additionally find the information, and you will be sure that all this is a lie.”


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