[JURIST] Authorities in the volatile Chechnya [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] region of Russia [JURIST news archive] commonly use electrical shocks, forced confessions, and other forms of torture, said Council of Europe [official website] Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg [official profile] Tuesday after visiting a prison in Chechnya's regional capital, Grozny. Hammarberg accused acting Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadyrov [Wikipedia profile], a former rebel leader who now serves as the region leader at the personal appointment of Russian President Valdmir Putin [official profile], of doing little to stop the problem.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, battles between Chechen independence fighters and the Russia government have decimated the region. According to a November report by Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] the use of torture is widespread [JURIST report] in the region. The UN has urged Russia to investigate [JURIST report] these allegations. Kadyrov denies charges of unlawful arrests and torture, but has promised a full investigation. Reuters has more.