A Russian human rights group accused law enforcement agencies on Friday of kidnapping and torturing ordinary Muslims.
The human rights group, Memorial, said in a report at least eight Russian citizens from the North Caucasus had been kidnapped since September by law enforcement agencies in Moscow.
"People are picked up on the street or outside metro stations," Svetlana Gannushkina, in charge of migration rights at the group, told Reuters.
"Whether it's the police or other law enforcement agencies it's done in the name of fighting extremism, but no one tries to differentiate between extremists and Islamists and people who peacefully practise their religion."
She added: "Before these recent kidnappings, it happened so rarely we did not feel the need to count them."
Neither the Federal Security Service (FSB) nor the police was immediately available for comment on the report on Friday.
Memorial said many of those kidnapped were labourers from the North Caucasus who came to Moscow looking for work. It is unclear if any of the victims might be linked to the insurgency.
During the Kurban Bairam Muslim holiday last November, Muslims in Moscow complained of being manhandled by police nearby their mosques, which were overflowing with worshippers.
In December, Moscow police struggled to tame 7,000 angry Russian youths who gathered near Red Square, shouting racist slogans and attacking passers-by who appeared to look non-Slavic.
In October two natives of the Dagestan region were kidnapped in Moscow after police street checks, Memorial said in the report, citing one of the men who was later released.
Makhmood R., as he was identified in the report, said he and his friend, Mirza Mamayev, were stopped by law enforcement officers outside of a metro station and led away where they were beaten unconscious by men in camouflage police uniforms.
They were kept for seven days in a single dark cell with their hands and feet tied, until Makhmood R. was released.
Memorial Chairman Oleg Orlov said the group was planning on taking several such cases to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights in the coming months.
He said: "We will be taking the cases to the court showing that the kidnappings are being carried out on purpose."
ReutersLast Mod: 22 Ocak 2011, 14:15