Staunton, May 21 – In Nevil Shute’s classic novel, A Town like Alice, the heroine says that there was something worse than being a woman in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. That was to be a female prisoner of the Japanese whom no camp commander wanted to take responsibility and thus forced her to move from place to place without food or shelter.
One cannot help but recall that following a declaration by Zarifa Sautiyeva, one of the Ingush Seven now being kept in a detention center for almost two years and facing a trial on trumped up charges, to the judge in that case this past week (fortanga.org/2021/05/nevozmozhno-nahoditsya-v-kletke-dva-goda-zarifa-sautieva-rasskazala-ob-usloviyah-soderzhaniya-v-sizo/).
“A detention center is an institution which is not intended to hold people for years,” the only woman among the Ingush Seven told the judge in their collective case. A few months perhaps but not for years. “No detention center in Russia, I think, judging from the stories of others who have been in such places is capable” of treating inmates as the law requires.
“Today, by extending our time under guard,” she told the judge, “you, the justices of Stavropol kray, are supporting this illegality.” Convict us if you must and send us to prison or the camps. We would be better off there because there are rules governing the handling of prisoners that are more humane than those dealing with detainees.
“Our life and health are in danger,” Sautiyeva continued. “And you by your decisions are supporting this. You are forcing us to remain in this situation. For two years, not one of us has done anything to suggest that we are a threat to anyone … I am almost certain that you will sentence us to time in jail.” Go ahead and do so; we would be better off.
Meanwhile, in his latest letter from the detention center, Barakh Chemurziyev, another one of the Ingush Seven, calls on Ingush to mobilize to block the construction of a Russian military facility that will take 9000 hectares of land out of agricultural production and harm Ingushetia (fortanga.org/2021/05/vopros-byt-ili-ne-byt-tankovomu-poligonu-zavisit-ot-zhitelej-ingushetii-i-grazhdanskogo-obshhestva-zapiski-iz-sizo-barah-chemurziev/).
He argues there is no justification for such a facility in the small republic and speculates that this project may be going ahead not because it is in the state interests of Russia but rather is a personal action of a single Russian deputy defense minister, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the former head of Ingushetia who signed the land deal with Chechnya that sparked protests.
The Ingush must attract the attention of Moscow officials and experts and do everything they can before Yevkurov deprives their nation of yet another part of their land. His labelling of Yevkurov as the culprit is certain to mobilize many Ingush who blame him for the disastrous loss of 10 percent of the republic to Chechnya.
Meanwhile, a strange meeting held outside of Magas of the representatives of various clans in Ingushetia has led to speculation that the Ingush government, fearful it won’t be able to deliver the usual pro-Kremlin vote, is now working with teip leaders to try to get more support (fortanga.org/2021/05/zagadochnyj-pir-v-gornoj-ingushetii-prohodit-ne-do-koncza-ponyatnyj-shod-tejpov/).