MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Activists say several men along with police in Russia’s North Caucasus have raided a shelter for domestic violence victims in Daghestan’s capital Makhachkala, taking away a young Chechen woman.
Local human rights defender Svetlana Anokhina told RFE/RL as the attack was happening on June 10 that several police officers and unknown men from neighboring Chechnya had raided the shelter.
According to Anokhina, police officers initially came to the building used as a shelter in Makhachkala saying they wanted to question a young Chechen woman who fled her home because she had been subjected to domestic violence. Police said the woman was on the federal search list.
They left the site after the questioning but returned a short time later accompanied by men who spoke Chechen and forced Anokhina and four other female volunteers out of the apartment, striking them several times, she said.
The women were brought to the police, where they were officially charged with disobeying police. Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the young Chechen woman whom the officers questioned is not known and Anokhina said she fears that the woman was taken to Chechnya against her will.
The Russian LGBT network told Mediazona that the woman believed to have been taken to Chechnya was Khalimat Taramova. It said she faced violence at home over her sexual orientation.
The opposition Chechen Telegram channel 1Adat posted a video in which a woman whom 1Adat identified as Taramova says she fled home to escape “threats and beatings.”
According to 1Adat, Taramova is the daughter of a former Chechen official, Ayub Taramov, a close associate of the North Caucasus region’s authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Russian authorities have long turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in the North Caucasus.
Kadyrov has been frequently accused by domestic and international rights groups of overseeing massive human rights abuses including abductions, torture, extrajudicial killings, the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and political and personal assassinations.
Kadyrov himself routinely berates and humiliates critics in the media, forcing them to apologize.