Chechens critical of authorities face increasing pressure both at home and abroad
Torture and brutal humiliation of 19-year-old Chechen, coupled with plans of Ramzan Kadyrov to set up a republican government agency for dealing with both „good“ and „bad“ compatriots abroad, have recently sent a shockwave among Chechens critical of authorities in Grozny.
A moderator of a Telegram channel 1ADAT critical of the authorities, 19-year-old Salman Tepsurkayev, has on September 7 appeared in a video torturing and raping himself with a bottle, after being reportedly kidnapped by a group of armed men.
„This is a dirty group, they discuss strangers, the Chechen Government, create pictures and write poetry, do all kinds of inappropriate things „, Tepsurkayev says in the video. „I realised that all this is inappropriate,“ he added. The young man then says that he „decided to punish himself“ and begins to sodomise himself with a glass bottle from the Sernovodskaya mineral water, which as OC Media reminded in its article, is owned by the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation, named after the father of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) has clarified that young man was kidnapped on September 6 in Gelendjik (Krasnodar Krai) by the people who introduced themselves as employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Later his relatives managed to trace the location of Salman’s phone in the territory of the Akhmat Kadyrov Police Patrol-and-Post Service Regiment stationed in Grozny, reported the Caucasian Knot.
Authors of 1ADAT Channel believe that Tepsurkaev now may face death due to the resonance after the publication of the video with his self-humiliation. „Since there are all the proofs of their involvement in the crime; and even the Council of Europe has already launched an inquiry into their crime; they are confident that if Salman is released, he will be persuaded to tell the whole truth about that Kadyrov’s performance. Now, Salman for them is undesired witness to their crimes,“ says the channel’s statement.
CAT, which does not exclude the possibility that Tepsurkaev will be murdered, sent an urgent complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the interests of the young man on September 11.
The kidnapping of young Chechen activist came shortly after Ramzan Kadyrov had unveiled plans to set up a republican government agency for relations with compatriots living abroad.
At a meeting of the government of the Chechen Republic on August 28, Kadyrov claimed that new agency will help „Chechens wherever they are“. The condition for such help, however, according to Kadyrov’s own words, is that people should „watch their tongue“. For „good Chechens,“ he promised to do some good; and for „bad Chechens,“ he promised to do „whatever is necessary.“
As Valery Dzutsati wrote in his assessment for Jamestown Foundation, murders and attempts on the lives of Chechen critics of Kadyrov in Europe „serve the interests of both Moscow and the ruler of Chechnya“, as they „instigate fear among Chechen dissidents and pressure them into moderating any public criticism of the pro-Kremlin administration in Grozny. Meanwhile, they also allow Kremlin to „exploit an extensive and tightly knit Chechen diaspora in the EU „. Moreover, the involvement of „Kadyrov’s henchmen“ in the murders across the EU allows the Kremlin to claim plausible deniability and deflect international criticism. „This is hardly good news for those Chechen dissidents who left the Russian Federation in search of safety „, added the analyst.