Members of the Elmurzaev family back at large after being kidnapped by law enforcers. Screenshot of the video posted on the Telegram channel of Tumso Abdurakhmanov on May 17, 2024

25 May 2024, 20:57

Rights defenders treat mass kidnappings as instability sign in Chechnya

Some of the 80 persons kidnapped after the arson of a car associated with Adam Kadyrov have already been released, human rights defenders have informed, adding that the mass kidnappings amid high-profile resignations indicate an unstable situation in Chechnya and are caused by law enforcers' desire to demonstrate their importance.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported referring to human rights defenders that at least 80 residents of Chechnya were kidnapped after the arson of a car with a DUSTUM license plate associated with Adam Kadyrov, a son of the head of Chechnya. In the village of Starye Atagi, Urus-Martan District, about 50 members of the Saif-Islam Elmurzaev family, suspected of setting the car on fire, were kidnapped, and about 30 people were kidnapped in the Shali District, the "Memorial" Centre for Human Rights Defence (CHRD)* has reported. On May 17, one of the Telegram channels oppositional to Chechen authorities reported May most members of the Elmurzaev family were back at large.

Abdulla Magomadov, a Shali resident, was kidnapped and taken to some security division, and on May 18, his body was given out to relatives; his death was explained by cardiac arrest, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, a Chechen oppositionist living abroad, has stated in his Telegram channel, adding that "there were traces of torture on the body."

Nobody except the kidnappers themselves knows the exact number of kidnapped people, because relatives are silent, a source from the "Memorial" CHRD* has pointed out. According to his story, such kidnappings are not uncommon in Chechnya; more were kidnapped, sometimes in hundreds.

Svetlana Gannushkina**, the chair of the "Civic Assistance" Committee**, has called the number of kidnappings within one week of May an extraordinary event even for Chechnya. "I don't remember such a mass kidnapping for a long time. Such things only happened during active hostilities," she said.

Ms Gannushkina also links the mass kidnappings with the political situation in Chechnya. "Some strange seething is observed. Well-known officials are being removed from their positions. And it seems that there is no order again. Although they believed that Ramzan Kadyrov has brought order there, it's now difficult to talk about any stable situation," she believes.

*As reported on the website of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the reason for including on March 1, 2024, the unregistered "Memorial" Centre for Human Rights Defence (CHRD) into the roster of foreign agents was the spread of "inaccurate information aimed at creating a negative image of the Russian Federation, as well as the Russian Armed Forces."

**Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 23, 2024 at 09:26 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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