KAZAN, Russia -- Several men in police uniforms have forcibly entered a shelter in Russia's Republic of Tatarstan, taking away two young women from the North Caucasus region of Daghestan.
Aliya Bainazarova, the head of the charity foundation Good Deeds in Tatarstan’s capital, Kazan, said on October 18 that the men did not introduce themselves as they entered the Mother's House shelter in the city, nor did they give any information as to where the two women were being taken.
Bainazarova said the two women, one of whom had a two-year-old daughter, had recently arrived at the shelter.
"They had to flee their city. They had a plan to start a new life. We know that the father of one of the girls is an Islamic preacher. The girls asked us to help them. They were forced to marry at home," Bainazarova said.
Daghestan-based human rights activist Svetlana Anokhina told the Novaya Gazeta newspaper that the two young women contacted her about one hour after they were taken away from the shelter and asked her "not to make a fuss" as they are doing fine.
"I do not believe at all that the girls' statements were made of their own free will. We have been in contact with them for one year and the whole year they have confirmed their intention to seek assistance," Anokhina said.
Tatarstan's Interior Ministry told Novaya Gazeta that it does not have any information concerning the situation.
In July, a police officer rushed into a shelter in the capital of Daghestan, Makhachkala, and forcibly took away a young Chechen woman who had fled Chechnya with the intention of living with her girlfriend.
Later, Chechen authorities issued a video in which Khalimat Taramova says that she is doing fine. Anokhina said at the time that Taramova was most likely forced to record the video. Taramova's current situation remains unknown.
Rights groups have accused predominantly Muslim Chechnya of targeting sexual minorities, including the use of abductions, torture, and extrajudicial killings.
Chechen authorities have rejected the accusations.