Police kidnapped the wife of the ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Chechnya Saidi Yangulbayev
On January 20, 2022, armed and masked men identifying themselves as Chechen law enforcement officials broke into the flat of the ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Chechnya Saidi Yangulbayev and Zarema Musayeva in Nizhny Novgorod. They showed an order to bring the family to Chechnya as witnesses in a fraud case, after which they forcibly took Musayeva away.
The judge’s son, Ibrahim Yangulbayev, claimed that their family was persecuted because he was the administrator of public pages that openly criticised the Chechen authorities. According to him, back in 2015, he and his father and brother were kidnapped and taken to Kadyrov’s residence, where they were beaten and tortured, including by the head of Chechnya himself.
The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that the family of Saidi Yangulbayev, whose wife Zarema Musayeva was forcibly removed from Nizhny Novgorod by Chechen security forces, calls for terrorism and extremism, and called for the arrest of all family members.
According to Kadyrov, the Yangulbayevs “organized an attack in Turkey on a former law enforcement officer” and “clearly support terrorist groups”. He expressed the opinion that they should be detained and, in case of resistance, “destroyed”. The head of Chechnya also said that for the Yangulbayevs themselves “it would be better if the law enforcement authorities get to them first, and not the Chechens, angry with their insults”.
Abubakar Yangulbayev, a former lawyer of the “Committee for the Prevention of Torture” (Russian NGO) and son of Saidi and Zarema, noted that his abducted mother had nothing to do with the fraud case – according to him, this follows from the order shown by the security officers who broke into their flat in Nizhny Novgorod. He also expressed confidence that his mother was “obviously drugged with some kind of pills” after being taken to Chechnya, because in the video of her talking to the Chechen ombudsman her speech differs from the usual one.
Another son of judge Yangulbayev, Ibrahim, spoke about the history of the conflict between Kadyrov and his family – according to him, it had to do with the fact that he was the administrator of some public pages where the Chechen authorities were openly criticised. According to Ibrahim Yangulbayev, back in 2015 he, along with his father and brother, were kidnapped and taken to Kadyrov’s residence. There they were tortured and beaten; Ibrahim Yangulbayev himself, according to him, was tortured personally by Kadyrov. Saidi Yangulbayev was then forced to resign his position as a judge. He was threatened that Ibrahim would be killed if Saidi would not resign. In 2017, Ibrahim Yangulbayev was again kidnapped and tortured, after which a case was fabricated against him under an extremist article.
The Kremlin has no information and does not intend to look into the situation regarding the kidnapping in Nizhny Novgorod of Zarema Musayeva. This was clearly stated by Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, in a conversation with journalists:
Well, that is a fantastic story. We prefer not to believe such reports without any confirmation.
The European Union demanded the release of the wife of Zarema Musayeva, who had been forcibly removed to the republic by police officers. A statement on the website of the EU diplomatic service expressed concern over ongoing human rights violations in the region.
“The European Union calls on the Russian authorities to release Musayeva, investigate the circumstances of what happened and put an end to the persecution of human rights defenders and their families, and immediately release those detained on trumped-up charges,” the text states. Russian authorities are also expected to effectively and quickly investigate all cases of extrajudicial executions, torture and other cases of gross human rights violations in Chechnya.
The Russian authorities have not responded to the statement.