The United States calls for the immediate release of all persons who have been unjustly detained in Chechnya.
On January 27, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a written statement, “The United States is troubled by continuing reports of abductions and arbitrary detentions carried out by authorities in Russia’s Republic of Chechnya, including dozens of reported abductions and arbitrary detentions in recent weeks.” Many of those targeted are the relatives of Chechen human rights defenders and dissidents.
The arbitrary detentions have not been limited to cases in Chechnya, Spokesperson Price noted. “There have been numerous instances of individuals being detained in other parts of the Russian Federation and forcibly transferred to Chechnya.” A recent example is the case of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of human rights lawyer Abubakar Yangulbayev. On January 20, she was taken from her home in Nizhny Novgorod in central Russia, taken to Chechnya, and placed in police custody. Amnesty International called her detention a kidnapping.
In addition, Chechen authorities have publicly threatened the Yangulbayev family in recent days. In a February 1 video, the brutal leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov personally threatened the family and urged other countries to return members of the family living abroad to Russia. In a shocking statement the same day, Adam Delimkhanov, a State Duma deputy from Chechnya, vowed to behead the family members.
State Department Spokesperson Price said such pressure tactics against the relatives in Chechnya of dissidents living outside of Russia “harm entire families [and] are an especially pernicious form of repression.”
Kadyrov has been carrying out a campaign of violence in Chechnya for years, targeting dissenters, LGBTQI+ persons, members of religious and ethnic groups, and others. The most recent human rights report on Russia by the U.S. State Department notes the reported abuses that have taken place in Chechnya by the authorities, including “extrajudicial killings and mass torture of LGBTI persons;” “extrajudicial killings” in other countries of those who oppose Republic of Chechnya authorities; and “abductions and torture in the North Caucasus, including of political activists and others critical of Chechnya head Kadyrov.”
The United States, said Spokesperson Price, calls on Russian federal authorities “to refrain from enabling repressive acts, including acts of transnational repression, originating in Chechnya and to bring those responsible for continuing egregious human rights violations in Chechnya to justice consistent with the law of the Russian Federation and Russia’s international human rights obligations.”
Anncr: That was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.