Russia investigates singer for condemning torture of terror suspects in custody

Singer Manizha at the Eurovision song contest in 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/SANDER KONING / POOL

Singer Manizha at the Eurovision song contest in 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/SANDER KONING / POOL

The Russian Investigative Committee is to consider claims that Russian singer Manizha “justified terrorism” when she publicly condemned the alleged torture of the suspects in the Crocus City Hall attack last week.

Yekaterina Mizulina, head of the Kremlin-aligned Safe Internet League, announced Monday that Manizha would be investigated for calling the suspects’ arrest “public torture”.

Manizha Sangin, known professionally as simply Manizha, is a Russian-Tajik singer who represented Russia in the Eurovision song contest in 2021. She has already been banned from touring in Russia for her outspoken anti-war position.

Manizha posted a video on her Instagram last week in which she expressed her fear that the consequences of the Moscow concert hall attack would “affect all Tajiks and residents of Central Asia”.

In the video, Manizha recalled her childhood spent in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe with her grandmother, adding that she was glad her grandmother did not live long enough to see “public torture becoming a response to blatant atrocities”.

“Despite all this horror and darkness, we must remain human,” Manizha said.

Russia has detained 12 suspects so far in connection with last month’s Crocus City Hall attack, in which at least 144 people were killed. Ten suspects have been remanded in custody, including the four alleged gunmen, all of whom are citizens of Tajikistan.

Videos circulated online of the suspects being brutally beaten and tortured, showing one man, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, having part of his ear cut off and being forced to eat it. Another video showed alleged attacker Shamsidin Fariduni being tortured with electrical shocks.

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