EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russia: Blood Relations – Presidents Without Feeling For Justice

Posted by Info on 23/02/2011

The families of suspected Islamist guerrillas in the North Caucasus have always faced harassment from Russian security forces. Now a shadowy vigilante group has started targeting them as well.

If your son kills another resident of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, you will be destroyed,” it read in typed letters. The letter was signed, “The Black Hawks — Anti-Wahhabis.” “We are living in some kind of nightmare,” said Marina.

Marina’s 22-year-old son, Astemir, is a suspected Islamist guerrilla whom she says she hasn’t seen for two and a half years, since he set out for work with a friend in fall 2008 and never came home. He is wanted by police for the recent murder of the republic’s mufti…
“Astemir was a very trusting boy. Maybe that’s why he fell into their clutches.” She heard on television that the militants pump their recruits with drugs so they become “zombies.”

Whatever it was that drove him away, Astemir is lost to his family. “We have disowned him,” said Marina with tears in her eyes. “If he came back now, his brothers would deal with him before he even got to the police, the trouble he’s brought them. He will always be my boy, but I have never sought to justify his actions. If he’s guilty of all these horrors, then I utterly condemn it. So why pick on us?

Marina’s words have been echoed again and again by the relatives of suspected rebel fighters, or boyeviki, across the North Caucasus.

Human rights groups have cataloged thousands of abuses of civilians by Russian security forces when soldiers beat and tortured Chechen men.

Chechen president Kadyrov
does not believe in justice and trial , he explained in a meeting with his cabinet.“Those families that have relatives in the woods are all collaborators in the crime; they are terrorists, extremists, Wahhabis, and devils.” Such people should be “cursed and ousted.”

In Kabardino-Balkaria republic’s Kremlin-appointed president, Arsen Kanokov said: “If they ( relatives) haven’t brought up their children right, let them also take responsibility. Someone is running around in the forest, while his relative works in a shop. That can’t go on; we will find measures for that.”
“Of course, we’re not going to burn down houses in the places [fighters] were born, like they do in Chechnya…. But if [parents] have given birth to a monster, then they should answer for it, not the state.”

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