Accessibility links

Breaking News

Self-Exiled Chechen Rights Activist Reportedly Detained In Sweden At Russia's Request

Chechen activist Mansur Sadulayev (file photo)
Chechen activist Mansur Sadulayev (file photo)

Mansur Sadulayev, a self-exiled Chechen human rights activist and critic of the Russian region's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has reportedly been detained in Sweden at the request of Russian authorities.

Sadulayev, who has been living in Sweden since 2017, is known as a supporter of Chechnya's independence from Russia.

From his residence in Sweden, he has been a harsh online critic of Kadyrov -- whom he has called "the chief of the Russian occupational administration."

Russia's online MBK Media news agency quotes another self-exiled Chechen activist, Tumso Abdrakhmanov, as saying that Sadulayev was detained on July 9 upon his arrival at a Stockholm airport.

Abdrakhmanov said Sadulayev was transferred to a police facility in Sweden's eastern city of Norrkoping.

Abdurakhmanov also said Sadulayev's lawyer was informed that his client had been detained at the request of Russian authorities. There was no official confirmation of the report.

Sadulayev and other self-exiled Chechen activists states have formed the Swedish-based Vayfond Charity and Human Rights Association -- a nongovernmental organization that says it aims to protect the rights of Chechens and to seek justice for Chechens and other ethnic groups in Russia's North Caucasus region who are persecuted for "religious and political reasons."

Vayfond says it is seeking to thwart nationalism, racial intolerance, and religious intolerance.

Rights activists say that Kadyrov rules through repressive measures and has created a climate of impunity for security forces in the province in Russia's North Caucasus.

They claim Kadyrov is ultimately responsible for abuses of political opponents by Chechen authorities that include kidnappings and forced disappearances, torture, and extra-judicial killings.

Kremlin critics say Putin turns a blind eye to the alleged abuses and violations of the Russian Constitution by Kadyrov because he relies on the former rebel commander to control separatist sentiments and violence in Chechnya, the site of two devastating post-Soviet wars and an Islamist insurgency that spread to other mostly Muslim regions in the North Caucasus.

With reporting by MBKh media

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.