Forcible delivery of Zarema Musayeva to Checnnya: Timeline

News

11 February 2022

The Chechen police officers forcibly detained Zarema Musayeva and delivered her to Checnya – wife of former federal judge Saydi Yangulbayev and mother of Abubakar Yangulbayev and Ibragim Yangulbayev, prosecuted by the Chechen authorities. Zarema Musayeva suffers from diabetes of second type, and during the apprehension she fainted. However, she was delivered to Grozny by car, and there the court put her on arrest.  

In the end of December 2021, the son of Yangulbayev and Musayeva, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture on the North Caucasus Abubakar Yangulbayev reported the abduction of the relatives in the territory of Chechnya – before 2015, the family was living in the Republic. A few days later, there was a search in his apartment in Pyatigorsk, and Abubakar Yangulbayev was interrogated in the framework of the criminal case on   condonation of terrorism. Previously, the Yangilbayev family was already subjected to prosecution and violence by the Chechen law-enforcement officers. After the search, Yangulbayev left Russia and quitted his job in the CAT.  

20 January

No less than 7 Chechen police officers were trying to enter the apartment in Nizhny Novgorod, where federal judge Saydi Yangulbayev was living together with his wife Zarema Musayeva. They forced the door open, and hit lawyer Natalya Dobronravova and Saydi Yangulbayev.
The police officers beat up Zarema Musayeva and forcibly detained her – the woman fainted, after that she could hardly stand. She was taken out of her house barefoot, without outer garments and personal belongings. The police officers only showed only a prescription on delivery of Saydi Yangulbayev and Zarema Musayeva to Chechnya in the capacity of witnesses in the case on fraud initiated in 2019. Lawyer Natalya Dobronravova was prevented from copying the prescription. Yangulbayev could not be detained due to his status of federal judge.  

Zarema Musayeva is suffering from diabetes of second type, she needs 5 insulin injections per day. By the moment of the forcible apprehension one injection had already been missed; we do not know how many injections were missed during her delivery to the Chechen Republic and her subsequent arrest. Law-enforcement officers refused to take the medicine with them, despite the fact that it takes to drive over 1500 km to reach Grozny by car.    

The CAT members applied to the Investigative Committee and to the FSB, but no one arrived for the call.  The Prosecutor’s Office refused to respond due to absence of the duty officer. The police accepted the application of CAT member Lyudmila Kukhnina, but arrived not at the Yangulbayev’s flat, but to Kukhnina herself.  The lawyer was taken to the department for questioning. The police officers arrived on the crime scene three hours later.  They informed the lawyers that the superiors of the local Department of the Interior were “not aware” of the Chechen police officers operation. 

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture started a public investigation.  

21 January

The President press-secretary Dmitry Peskov commented on the forcible delivery of Zarema Musayeva to Chechnya: “Generally, this is a fantastic story. We prefer not to trust such information without proofs, the times we are living in are too dishonest”.

The CAT lawyers applied to the Council of Europe Human Rights Council Commissioner and the United Nations special rapporteur. They also submitted an urgent application to the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39. It is applied in exceptional circumstances, when there is an imminent risk of inflicting an irreparable harm to the life and health of a person.

The CAT founder Igor Kalyapin informed the Council of Human Rights under the President of the RF on forcible delivery of Musayeva to Chechnya.  

Human-rights ombudsman for the Nizhny Novgorod region Oksana Kislitsyna met Saydi Yangulbayev and inquired him on what happened in detail, as well as on Zarema’s health condition by the moment of the apprehension.   

Human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders issued a statement in support of Zarema Musayeva and Saydi Yangulbayev.  

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov stated that the family of federal judge Saydi Yangulbayev will “either be jailed or under the ground”. He also demanded that the Supreme Court expelled Yangulbayev from the judges and added that Zarema Musayeva already “earned herself an article for the real jail time”.   

Human-rights ombudsman for the Chechen Republic Mansur Soltayev  met Zarema Musayeva – in the published video she said that the police officers did not apply violence and bought insulin for her. Musayeva’s speech was slow. “I know my mother and now in the video she’s in grave condition”, – Abubakar Yangulbayev commented on the video. No official information on Musayeva’s place of detention was provided.

Human-rights ombudsman of the Russian Federation Tatyana Moskalkova applied to the Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic Sharpuddi Muaydovich Abdul-Kadyrov with a request to conduct a check of “a situation with Zarema Musayeva”.   

22 January

Saydi Yangulbayev with daughter Aliya Yangulbayeva left Russia. They informed that their departure is related to the threat to their life. Zarema Musayeva’s family and lawyers still do not know her exact whereabouts and what her legal status is.  

23 January

The European Court demanded to free Zarema Musayeva. On its website, the European Foreign Service expresses concern with continuous human rights violations in Chechnya, the inaction of the federal authorities and impunity of the culprits.    

Mysayeva’s son and lawyer Abubakar Yangulbayev reported his relatives based in Grozny missing — 15 people are out of reach.

Minister of information and press of Chechnya Akhmed Dudayev claimed that Musayeva is detained and is kept at the special detention facility of the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic. According to him, Musayeva was apprehended over administrative office — Zarema Musayeva allegedly offended and attacked a police officer. Later on, the information on the case appeared on the website of the Leninsky District Court: the court hearing took place on 21 January at 22:20, Musayeva was found guilty under Part 1 of Article 20.1 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“disorderly conduct”). She was sentenced to the maximum punishment under this article — 15 days.

In addition, on 23 January, the interrogation on the case over which Zarema Musayeva was forcibly delivered to Grozny, was supposed to take place. By the moment of the interrogation, the lawyer sent by the Committee Against Torture was not admitted to Musayeva.  

The ECHR replied to the complaint submitted by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture under Rule 39. The European Court posed questions to the Russian authorities on the case aiming at clarifying the circimstances of what is happening to Zarema Musayeva and obliged the Russian Federation to provide an answer by 7 February.

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture and defense lawyer Aleksandr Nemov visited a special detention facility where Zarema Musayeva is kept.

The duty officer replied that access to the woman is possible only with permission of Deputy Head of the Department of the Interior for the Chechen Republic. The lawyers submitted complaints against the denial of access to the duty prosecutor. In addition, the lawyers reported the surveillance that they were subjected to for two days.    

The Committee Against Torture engaged a group of lawyers in the case on forcible apprehension of Zarema Musayeva. This decision is taken due to numerous violations of the federal legislation.

27 January

In the framework of the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), discussion on the subject “Cessation of enforced disappearances on the territory of the Council of Europe” was held on the air. In the framework of the meeting, the subject of Zarema Musayeva apprehension was discussed.  

Chairman of the Human Rights Council under the President of the RF Valery Fadeyev claimed that the department is monitoring the situation with Musayeva. According to him, at that moment, the “situaton is unclear from the legal point of view”, and that Zarema was delivered to Grozny in accordance with the norms of the Criminal Procedure Code”.

28 January

Human-rights ombudsman of the Chechen Republic Mansur Soltayev attended the special detention facility where Zarema Musayeva is kept. He informed that Musayeva was in “normal condition”. The ombudsman published a video where Musayeva was briefly shown – it is the first time since apprehension when the relatives and the human rights defenders saw the apprehended. screen shot from the video.  

The international remedy lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the UN Work group on enforced dissapearances.  

The group of lawyers sent by the Committee Against Torture, was not admitted to the special detention facility where Musayeva is kept. They submitted an application and provided medical documentation of Zarema Musayeva, conforming that she has diabetes of second type – this illness is a part of the list of illnesses with which arrest is not allowed. Later on, Deputy Head of Police of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chechen Republic for maintenance of public order Khusein Aydamirov showed an application allegedly signed by Zarema Musayeva. It stated that Musayeva declined the services of lawyer Aleksandr Nemov, sent by the CAT.  We do not know under what circumstances Musayeva signed this document. The statement also mentioned that Zarema refused to paricipate in any kind of procedural activities.

Xerox copy of the statement, allegedly written by Zarema. 

31 January

A criminal case was initiated under article on applying violence against an authority representative, threatening to life or health (p.2 Article 318 of the Criminal Code) – Baza agency became aware of that. Maximal jail time for this article is 10 years. According to the agency, Musayeva was “shouting and insulting the police officers” during the delivery to the department: “District officer for the Akhmatovsky District of Grozny started to draw up a protocol on her, and at that time Musayeva seized him by the left cheek with her right arm and scratched his face during an attempt to pull her off”.    

1 February

Human-rights ombudsman of the Russian Federation Tatyana Moskalkova repeatedly applied to the General Prosecutor’s Office with a request on information concerning “a situation with Zarema Musayeva”.   

Deputy of the State Duma from Chechnya Adam Delimkhanov in his account in social media broadcast promised to tirelessly prosecute the Yangulbayev family members: “Till we cut your heads and kill you”, informed the deputy.  

2 February

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture analyzed the actions of law-enforcement officers in the process of forcible apprenension of Zarema Musayeva. Analysis of forcible delivery of Zarema Musayeva. 

Baza agency informed that the Staropromyslovsky District Court of Grozny put Musayeva into custody for 2 months till 1 April with regard to a criminal case on applying violence against a police officer. The court’s press office confirmed this information to Mediazona. The defense lawyers sent by the Committee Against Torture, were not admitted to Zarema Musayeva.   Her relatives were not provided any information on the criminal case or a selected measure of restraint.   

4 February

The defense lawyers sent by the Committee Against Torture, managed to meet Zarema Musayeva. She informed on her grave condition, despite the medical assistance that she was provided.  Zarema told that she fainted twice during the court hearing on the administrative offence on 21 January. In addition, the woman categorically denied the criminal offence she is charged with and insisted that she had not declined the defense lawyers provided by the Committee Against Torture. Zarema is not aware how the statement of denial allegedly written by her hand, appeared previously.   

Advisor to the President of Russia and Chairman of the Human Rights Council Valery Fadeyev asked Head of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin to take Zarema Musayeva’s case from Chechnya.   He proposes to hand over the investigation to the Central Office of the Committee or to the Department of the Investigative Committee for the North Caucasus Federal District.      

7 February

The Nizhny Novgorod Investigative Committee did not perform a check of an application concerning abduction of Zarema Musayeva by the Chechen law-enforcement officers. In response to the crime report, submitted by Chairman of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets, the Investigative Committee claimed that the report was forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office of Chechnya. The investigators explained it by the fact that “in actual fact, the procedural actions during the investigation of the criminal case in the proceedings of the Department of the Investigative Committee for the Chechen Republic are being appealed”.   

8 February

Defense lawyers met with Zarema Musayeva again. The woman reported that during the court hearing on administrative offence she fainted right after she told her name to the judge. Zarema came to her senses when she was already at the special detention facility. In fact, the court hearing was held when she was unconscious.     

In addition, the defense lawyers managed to pass the procedure of intervention, which means a full-fledged representation of Zarema Musayeva’s legal interests. Defense lawyers informed that they managed to achieve that not right away but only after an application to the duty prosecutor of the Chechen Republic. Before meeting him, the investigator on the Musayeva case refused to meet defense lawyers. 

By this moment, more than 107 000 people signed a petition in support of Zarema Musayeva on website change.org. Amnesty International announced an event for all who wants to join the public campaign on the case of Zarema Musayeva with an appeal to submit an application to the General Prosecutor’s Office of the RF.  

9 February

The ECHR provided the Committee Against Torture with response of Russian authorities in the case of Zarema Musayeva. It did not contain any information explaining the delivery of the woman to Grozny and the relation to the criminal case on which the delivery was performed. In addition, the reponse does not contain any documents related to the state of her health. In their turn, human rights defenders prepared arguments for the European Court to the Russian side response.  

10 February

The Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic refused to release Zarema Musayeva for home arrest due to her health state. She will remain in the Detention Facility at least till the 1 April. Zarema attended the court hearing via video conference.  

The Prosecutor objected against satisfying the lawyer’s complaint about the measure of restraint. He considers keeping Musayeva at the Temporary Detention Facility in her present condition and with regard to the crime she is charged with, to be legal and justified.   

Her health state did not change from the moment of her last meetng with human rights defenders. Zarema Musayeva still feeds bad and can barely walk. The lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will be appealing against the rulings taken by the courts.   

Zarema Musayeva at the court hearing of the Supreme Court.  

The Committee Against Torture received the summons, sent to Zarema Musayeva and Saydi Yangulbayev. The summons are sent to the non-existing address in the Nizhny Novgorod region: the town of Gorodetsky, however, they were delivered at the address of the family registration: the town of Zavolzhye, the Gorodetsky District. Apparently, the Nizhny Novgorod post office staff guessed it right, by comparing the address of the street and the house. The summons are drawn up dated 11 January with a demand to show up as early as on 13 January to Grozny for interrogation, which is impossible physically taking into account the distance between the cities: the letter would simply fail to reach the Yangulbayev family in 2 days.

In addition, the posting date on the envelope’s postal stamp — 26 January — is the date, by which Zarema Musayeva had already been delivered to Grozny and put in a detention facility in complete isolation from the outside world. The date when the notification was received by the Nizhny Novgorod mail — 5 February.

It gives human rights defenders the right to think that the notifications on bringing to responsibility Zarema Musaeva, forcibly taken to Chechnya, might have been issued post factum.

“With such justice as we have in the Chechen Republic, it is virtually impossible to refer to the Criminal Procedure Code: they have their own law enforcement practice, that they use as they wish. But if this case is handed over for examination to another region or other department of the Investigative Committee, then it will be more objective”, — Chairman of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets comments on the situation.


The Committee Against Torture continues its work on defending the rights of Zarema Musayeva.