Staunton, June 24 – Ramazan Kadyrov, the acolyte of Vladimir Putin, is guilty of many crimes including the murder of his opponents at home and abroad and the erection of a totalitarian state within a state. But few of his actions are more heinous than what he has done in the case of a woman who complained about the murder of her daughter.
Khutmat Dovletmirzayeva said earlier this month that she was convinced that her daughter, Madina Umayeva had been murdered by her husband following a series of arguments and beatings and that the authorities in violation of Islamic norms had buried her quickly and at night to hide what had happened.
The authorities appear to have taken those actions because the husband, Viskhadzhi Khamidov, is a Kadyrov loyalist who works for the security services. (For background on this alarming case, see especially ekhokavkaza.com/a/30681746.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/06/kadyrov-regime-works-hard-to-cover-up.html).
That might have been the end of it, but fortunately and unfortunately, it wasn’t. Fortunately, Dovletmirzayeva told her story to Kavkaz Uzel (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/351029and its reporting attracted the attention of many far beyond Chechnya. But unfortunately, it also attracted the attention of Kadyrov.
Olga Korelina, a Meduza journalist, provides the fullest account of what happened next. First, the husband was given air time on Grozny television to deny that he killed his wife and demanded that reports that he had be recanted and taken down from social networks (meduza.io/feature/2020/06/24/chechenka-kotoruyu-izbival-muzh-umerla-vo-vremya-semeynoy-ssory-mat-zapodozrila-ee-supruga-v-ubiystve-a-potom-izvinilas-posle-razgovora-s-kadyrovym).
Meanwhile, more relatives and friends of the late woman came forward with reports that the husband had beaten her regularly and that she had fled, only to return because of the three children involved and the pressure of relatives who insisted that was her wifely duty. As a result, the story did not die away.
One June 18, the Chechen procuracy ordered the dead woman’s body to be exhumed for examination. It claimed that there were no signs of bodily injury, but when the mother was shown the body, she was only allowed to see the face. The rest of the cadaver remained covered in a sheet, although she said she had seen signs of blood on the sheet.
At the same time, rumors were spread that the young woman may have been buried alive. That happens, Abubakar Yangulbayev, a lawyer for the Committee against Torture, especially as many times, those who have been beaten are declared dead not by doctors but by others who may not know what they are doing.
Five days later, Kadyrov got involved. He came to Gudermes to meet with those involved. His first order was to have the relatives of the dead woman handed over to her husband and his family. And his second was to demand that the woman’s mother explain herself and why she was spreading stories about her late daughter and her husband.
Kadyrov was furious that the body had been exhumed. That is a violation of Islamic law; and he also expressed anger that any woman would complain about occasional beatings by her husband. That is part of life, he said. When people marry, there will be fights, he said; and when there are fights, “it will happen that the husband will beat the wife.”
In the end, the mother of the late woman apologized for suggesting that her daughter had been murdered and by her husband. “I ask everyone to forgive me. I was wrong, I listened to everything people told me, I want to ask for forgiveness from the head [of Chechnya] and everyone else.”
Many outsiders will write all this off to “Chechen barbarism.” But Chechen customary law, the adat, does not permit such things. What Kadyrov has done in this case and in so many others reflects not his Chechen nationality but the brutality that he has been encouraged by Putin to use to keep the Chechens quiet.
That must be recognized and condemned by people of good will everywhere.