Two more human rights workers have been kidnapped in Grozny, the Russian media is reporting. According to Ingushetia.ru, Zarema Sadulaeva and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov were taken by unknown gunmen from the office of “Save the Generation,” a non-governmental youth organization that provides medical and psychological help for youth and children traumatized by violence in Chechnya. Alexandr Cherkasov of Memorial told Ekho Moskvy:
“Around 2 p.m. unknown armed men entered the office of “Save the Generation.” Two were in civilian clothing and three were in black uniforms. They introduced themselves as representatives of the security organs. They took Zarema and her husband, and after some time returned and took their cell phone and her husband’s car. When they are now and which agency abducted them is unknown.”
Chechen security organs say that it is too early to say whether Sadulaeva and Dzhabrailov were kidnapped. “According to eyewitnesses, Saduleava and her husband went into the car voluntarily. No force was used against them,” a representative told Interfax.
Too early to say? It’s not like this is the first time this has happened. Well, if they were indeed taken by Chechen security agents then the MVD should know where they are and why they were taken. If not, then they were kidnapped by persons posing as Chechen police. I don’t know which is worse.
The kidnappings come a few days after Ramzan Kadyrov denied allegations in an interview with Radio Svoboda that he was involved in last month’s abduction and murder of Nataila Estemirova . When asked whether he would consider creating an independent commission to investigate her murder, Kadyrov replied,
Why invite people from outside to do that if we have our own laws here? Are investigations in the Russian Federation conducted worse than in other countries? A full investigation is being carried out.[Memorial head] Oleg Orlov blamed me [for Estemirova’s death]. That human rights defender violated my human rights. He should have protected me as an individual and thought about what he was going to say. But he accused me of being a murderer. He said that Kadyrov killed Estemirova. I told him, “Mr. Orlov, you’re an adult. Be a real person for once in your life and tell me why you violated my rights?” He replied saying, “That’s not what I meant. I meant you in your role as president.”
They [human rights activists] are all lawyers. The texts they write follow the letter of the law. [Orlov] told me he blamed me as president, as the guarantor of the constitution. They’re very good lawyers. But if they say that Kadyrov or his people are to blame, let them prove it. Why would Kadyrov kill women that no one needs?[Estemirova] never had any honor or sense of shame. And still I appointed her head of a [civil society advisory] commission with the mayor of Grozny as her deputy. I wanted to be objective about addressing the issue. But she didn’t like it. She would say stupid things. I told her, “You’re a woman, and we’re trying to do something for the people. But if it doesn’t work, don’t blame us.” I said I would show her the city budget and told her to try to do better. She said, “Yes, I understand.”
So I said I’d disband the commission, thanks very much for your work, but I don’t trust you. I didn’t treat her gently. I didn’t tell her I loved her. I told it like it was. We were both acting in our professional capacities. She was the head of the commission, and I, as the president of Chechnya, was evaluating her work. So why am I to blame? Let the investigators conduct their work. If Kadyrov or his people are to blame, let them be tried and jailed.
Well that’s reassuring . . .