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Chechen Woman Abducted By Police In Daghestan May Face 'Honor Killing,' Rights Groups Warn


Russian authorities have long turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in the North Caucasus, where Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (on banner, right) is frequently accused of overseeing massive human rights abuses including the persecution of LGBT people.

MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- A daughter of a close associate of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who was forcibly removed by police from a shelter for domestic violence victims and rights activists has warned that she could be killed in an "honor killing” if she is returned to her home.

The June 11 warning about Khalima Taramova’s fate came one day after Chechen and Daghestani police raided the apartment in Daghestan, where Taramova fled, and took her away.

The apartment where she was staying was used by domestic violence advocates to protect women fleeing their homes.

Taramova’s whereabouts were not immediately clear.

In a video published online earlier in the week, Taramova said she had fled her home in Chechnya due to "regular beatings and threats."

She pleaded with authorities to not to add her to the national missing persons list. The video was shot by rights activists in an effort to prevent police from searching for her.

Activists with Russia’s LGBT Network said Taramova fled because she was being intimidated for her sexual orientation.

In the video, Taramova, who has also been identified as Khalimat, did not name anyone as the culprit behind her alleged beatings. She is married, though the identity of her spouse was not immediately clear. She also told RFE/RL that her marriage had been arranged, against her will.

Her age was also not immediately clear.

She is the daughter of Ayub Taramov, a powerful real estate developer in Grozny and an ally of Kadyrov, who is Chechnya’s strongman leader and is openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (file photo)

Svetlana Anokhina, a women’s rights advocate based in Makhachkala, told RFE/RL late on June 10 that Taramova was taken from the Makhachkala apartment by a joint unit of Chechen and Daghestani police led by a top district police official.

The police officers allegedly beat four women who were also in the apartment and tried to protect Taramova and her girlfriend, Anokhina said.

Daghestani police authorities did not respond to calls from RFE/RL seeking comment.

Anokhina was later detained by police on June 11 and charged with police obstruction, a lawyer, Patimat Nuradinova told RFE/RL. She was ordered to appear before a local judge on a misdemeanor charge later on June 11.

Meanwhile, Tim Bestsvet, a spokesman with the Russian LGBT Network – one of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups -- told TV Dozhd that Taramova's girlfriend, Anna Manylova, was taken to Chechnya against her will.

Anokhina later told RFE/RL, however, that Manylova was not in fact taken to Chechnya but was scheduled to fly to St. Petersburg later on June 11.

Bestsvet said that, if Taramova was brought back to Chechnya, she could face death from an "honor killing"-- a practice where a person is killed for his or her immoral behavior, actual or perceived. It is illegal in Russia, but still practiced quietly in some Russian regions like the North Caucasus.

Russian authorities have long turned a blind eye to the human rights problems in the North Caucasus, a region with deep Islamic cultural roots and conservative traditions.

Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya for more than a decade, has been frequently accused by Russian and international groups of overseeing widespread human rights abuses, including abductions, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

The region was the site of a so-called "gay purge" in 2017 in which dozens of gay men claimed they were abducted and tortured by Chechen authorities.