Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Ingush Protest Leader’s Lawyer Says Authorities will Extend Detentions Again and Again

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 21 – When Akhmed Barakhoyev was arrested a year ago, the Ingush protest leader told his lawyer Fatima Urusova that the authorities would extend his detention again and again, coming up with ever new charges, and that he might never return home, at least any sooner than eight years.

            Urusova tells Fortanga founding editor Izabella Yevloyeva that despite the growing illegality in the Russian Federation, she did not expect such an outcome but that Barakhoyev, a longtime activist, had been proved right and may get a real sentence (

            Urusova says that only a decision of the European Court might prevent that but warns that Moscow often ignores its decisions and that the Court even in the best of times takes six or seven years from the time a case is submitted to reach a decision. Given that, it is likely Barakhoyev will be behind bars for a long time to come.

            Barakhoyev says he would rather be there with others than free while his comrades were in jail, Urusova says. He even jokes that he should give former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov for ensuring that he and his friends would all be behind bars at the same time.  He also says that he is “repeating the path of [his] father,” a remarkable figure in his own right.

            Osman Barakhoyev was an esteemed Muslim theologian in the North Caucasus. By some miracle, he escaped the GULAG in the 1930s; but after the deportation of the Ingush to Kazakhstan, he was arrested, sentenced to death. That sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released following Stalin’s death.

            In April 1954, at the age of 78, Mullah Barakhoyev had a son, Akhmed. He lived 14 more years, and both his death and his life play an enormous role in the contemporary Ingush political leader, leading him to help people at the time of the Prigorodny District war and to join with others to protest the border deal with Chechnya.

            The lawyer suggests that the reason Barakhoyev approaches the situation so calmly reflects his father’s way of living and the reason he often speaks of being incarcerated for eight years is that that is the length of time his father the mullah spent in Stalin’s prisons more than a half century ago.

            Urusova sums up her experiences with this case: “The law is dying in our country. We don’t have it anymore. I even earlier did not have any illusions, simply worked and soberly assessed the situation. But the horror, rightlessness and violation of fundamental rights [in Ingushetia now] I never saw or imagined.”

            Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Ingushetia continue to shoot up (  and and statistics show that Ingushetia over the last three years had the highest rate of population growth of any federal subject (

            Finally, one piece of good news: the mayor of the Ingush city of Malgobek distributed food and presents to 112 Orthodox families there for Russian Easter ( and

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