On January 20, 2022, Zarema Musaeva, mother of a human rights lawyer from Chechnya (North Caucasus), was abducted from her apartment in Nizhnii Novgorod (Central Russia) by at least seven men. They spoke Chechen and drove vehicles with Chechen number plates. Later, Chechen authorities confirmed she was in their custody but refused her lawyers permission to see her. Zarema Musaeva has committed no crime and must be immediately released.
- Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on March 30, 2022.
- Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
- Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 08.22. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007
Phone: 202 298 5700 I Fax: 202 298 5735
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Prosecutor General,
I am deeply concerned about the abduction of Zarema Musaeva
, on January 20, 2022, from her home in Nizhnii Novgorod by men who were later confirmed to be Chechen officials. On January 21, 2022, Chechen authorities reported that Zarema Musaeva was serving 15 days of administrative detention for “petty hooliganism”. She suffers a serious medical condition, which should preclude her administrative detention under Russian law, and she reportedly does not have access to vital medicines. She has been held incommunicado and her lawyers have been denied access to her, ostensibly because she refused their services. On February 2, 2022, media reported that she had been detained on remand, initially for two months, on fabricated charges of using violence against a police officer, a crime punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
For years, Zarema Musaeva’s next of kin have faced reprisals from the Chechen authorities. One of her sons complained of secret imprisonment and torture in 2015 – 2016 and of subsequent unfounded criminal prosecution. Her husband, federal judge Saydi Yangulbaev, was forced to resign in 2015 and subjected to an unlawful house search, and her oldest son, human rights lawyer Abubakar Yangulbaev received anonymous threats. On January 21, 2022, Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov publicly threatened that the right “place” for members of their family was “either in prison or in the ground”.
Zarema Musaeva has committed no crime and is unlawfully deprived of her liberty by the Chechen authorities in retaliation for her family members’ revelations about the abuses they had suffered and for their activism.
I urge you to take all the necessary steps to stop Zarema Musaeva’s unfounded criminal prosecution and ensure that she is immediately released, that the circumstances of her abduction and unlawful deprivation of liberty are effectively investigated, and those responsible are held accountable in fair trial proceedings.