[JURIST] A Russia-based international human rights group claimed Wednesday that it has turned over to authorities documentary proof of the existence of Russian-operated secret prisons in Chechnya [BBC backgrounder] which the group claimed to have discovered in a southern district of Grozny, the capital city. Memorial [advocacy website] said they have submitted to prosecutors photographs and videos of the prison that indicate, through prisoner graffiti, that the detention center may have been used last month, though the prisons should have shut down years before. While one Chechen prosecutor indicated Wednesday that a preliminary investigation has begun into allegations that Russia used the prisons to kidnap and torture separatist Chechens in violation of EU and Russian laws, the Russian government has repeatedly denied torturing Chechens[JURIST report].
In May, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights [official website] published a report [text] alleging the existence of the secret Russian prisons [JURIST report]. That report was submitted to Dick Marty, the Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe, also heading the investigation into alleged secret CIA detention centers on the continent. AP has more.