Fifteen teenagers detained in Dagestan and interrogated over four sisters who fled Russia

A group of 15 teenagers was detained in Makhachkala, Russia’s Dagestan, and interrogated in a tough manner regarding the four sisters from Dagestan who fled the country a few days ago, as per NC SOS Crisis Group.

The teenagers were detained on 2 November in the evening near a cafe popular with the local young people, the human rights defenders say. The teenagers were taken to a police station where they were kept until two a.m. and interrogated in a tough manner about “the four sisters, as well as personal attitude towards LGBTQ+,” NC SOS says.

The human rights defenders believe that the Centre for Combating Extremism within Russia’s police was behind the detention. This department is now concerned with finding “the local cell of the LGBTQ+ organisation which ‘recruited’ the four sisters and helped them escape,” NC SOS believes.

Russia’s border guards detained four sisters from Dagestan at the Russia-Georgia border checkpoint on 29 November. The sisters were trying to escape the country after years of domestic violence within the family.

The sisters later managed to cross the border but were still not completely safe as their family’s acquaintances in Georgia could be acting as a threat, NC SOS reported.

The young ladies used to suffer physical violence in the family; their relatives demanded “religious obedience” from them. The four also suffered female genital mutilation in childhood. They were considering a runaway for a long time and made their minds when one of the sisters found out she could be married off to her own cousin. The sisters waited until the youngest of the group turned 18 and, with the help of NC SOS, escaped Dagestan on 7 August.

Later, the Muftiat of Dagestan published a statement by the chairman of the Kaspiysk imam council, which said that the escape of the girls was due to the influence of social networks. “Because of those phones, fathers lose their sons and mothers lose their daughters. We cannot keep track of our children, the growing youth, we do not understand what they do in those gadgets,” he said. The imam believes that the girls were “recruited on the Internet” and got inspired by the idea that they were “much higher than what they really are” and that they “should be free.”

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