Incidents » Conflicts

Maskhadov's relatives kidnapped in Chechnya

A letter sent by Chechen separatists to the European Parliament says relatives of Aslan Maskhadov have been kidnapped in Chechnya. The letter came out on the UNPO website. It says close relatives of Aslan Maskhadov were kidnapped during special operations in Grozny and other towns last week.

Maskhadov's two brothers and a sister at the age of 69-76 are among the kidnapped. The letter also emphasizes that now Russian special services and groups of Chechnya's First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov conduct sweeping operations in Chechnya and kidnap women, children and the aged.

The letter says the disorders were provoked by saying of Russia Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov that “relatives of terrorists must be responsible for what members of their families do.” Chechen politicians ask the European Parliament to take measures to guarantee safety to Maskhadov’s family and other kidnapped.

Chechen law enforcement structures strongly deny the information about kidnapping Aslan Maskhadov's relatives. A spokesperson for the Chechen Prosecutor's Office says neither Chechen law enforcement structures nor federal forces detained Aslan Maskhadov’s brothers and a sister. Meanwhile, the spokesperson emphasized that “there is no need for law enforcement structures of the Chechen Republic and other figures of the anti-terrorist operation to kidnap relatives of Aslan Maskhadov.” He added, if necessary authorities can ask Maskhadov's relatives questions that any Russian who commits crimes must answer. The Chechen Interior Ministry states that any instance of kidnapping is registered in the republic, but no kidnapping of Maskhadov’s relatives has been registered..

It has recently become a tradition in Chechnya to kidnap relatives of Chechen separatists. Remember Defense Minister of Ichkeria, a close follower of Aslan Maskhadov and an influential leader of Chechen rebels Magomed Khambiyev who was forced to surrender after his relatives were detained. The Chechen terrorist leader illegally lived in his native settlement of Benoy during the second Chechen war. Soldiers of President Akhmad Kadyrov's special services attacked his house a day before Magomed Khambiyev surrendered. Several previous attempts to catch the brigade general in his house failed, as the man managed to escape. Last time, the general escaped to the mountains once again.

But special services detained all men who were in Khambiyev's house at that moment. Soon, all relatives were released but two young men still remained detained. Ramzan Kadyrov promised the men would be released if other relatives make Khambiyev surrender. Next day, a relative of the brigade general told Kadyrov's people Magomed Khambiyev stayed at his relatives in Benoy. Early in the morning, Chechen military forces blocked the house and caught Magomed Khambiyev.

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