Responding to the alarming death threat issued by Adam Delimkhanov, a Russian politician from Chechnya, against family members of Chechen human rights activist Abubakar Yangulbaev, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“The Russian authorities must immediately launch a credible, impartial and independent investigation into this blood-curdling death threat. Such a statement should never be issued by a powerful member of the federal Russian parliament, and appropriate steps must be taken in response. Crucially, the authorities must also ensure that Abubakar Yangulbaev’s family is protected from harm in accordance to their wishes.
“Adam Delimkhanov is just the latest high-ranking Chechen politician to issue a terrifying death threat against the family of human rights lawyer Abubakar Yangulbaev. His video sends a deeply disturbing message that would instill fear in anyone wishing to criticize the leaders of Chechnya.
“Meanwhile, the Kremlin is either unwilling to rein in these types of human rights threats in Chechnya or is knowingly complicit in this despicable act. Once again, the federal Russian authorities have demonstrated their frozen indifference.”
The Kremlin is either unwilling to rein in these types of human rights threats in Chechnya or is knowingly complicit in this despicable actMarie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
On 1 February, Chechen politician Adam Delimkhanov shared a video on Instagram in which he explicitly named the family of human rights lawyer Abubakar Yangulbaev, before saying “We will pursue you until we cut off your heads and kill you”. On the same day, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, also issued death threats, less explicit, against the Yangulbaev family.
On 20 January, Zarema Musaeva, Abubakar’s mother, was abducted by Chechen men from her apartment in Nizhniy Novgorod in Central Russia. She was taken to Chechnya and forced into “administrative detention” for “petty hooliganism.” Later, she was charged with “violence dangerous to the life or health of a police officer,” and was arrested for two months. Her detention is arbitrary and she must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Kadyrov, who was irate after some of the Yangulbaev family members went public about the abductions of their relatives by Chechen authorities and other egregious human rights violations in Chechnya, has baselessly accused the family of supporting “terrorism.”