Mother of persecuted Chechen activists Zarema Musaeva sentenced to 5.5 years behind bars

Zarema Musaeva, mother of persecuted activists from Russia’s Chechnya, has been sentenced to 5.5 years in prison by a Grozny court, Crew Against Torture reports.

The state prosecution sought the same prison sentence for the woman during a court hearing on 15 June. The court found her guilty of fraud and violence against a police officer.

Photo: Crew Against Torture

Photo: Crew Against Torture

Musaeva is the ex-wife of former Supreme Court judge Saidi Yangulbaev and mother of Chechen human rights activists Abubakr and Ibragim Yangulbaev. She was placed in police custody in Grozny in January 2022 on charges of violence against the police force.

According to her son, the time in a detention centre affected her eyesight and led to backaches that practically immobilised the woman. Reports emerged in June that Musaeva was taken to hospital.

Earlier today, Novaya Gazeta reporter Elena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov were attacked in Chechnya after they arrived in the region for Musaeva’s hearing. Milashina has several broken fingers, she fainted a few times. Nemov’s leg is injured, a stab wound is suspected.

On 20 January 2022, law enforcers stormed the Nizhny Novgorod apartment of judge Yangulbaev and his wife. The woman was taken without clothes and necessary medication, her whereabouts were not known. She was later arrested for 15 days for allegedly “attacking a police officer and almost taking his eye out”.

Human rights activists linked Musaeva’s kidnapping with the work of her son Abubakr Yangulbaev, ex-staffer of the North Caucasus office of Crew Against Torture. Musaeva’s son Ibragim faced a criminal case on the charge of public calls for terrorism.

Chechnya chief Ramzan Kadyrov said that the Yangulbaevs allegedly support extremism and terrorism which warrants their detention or elimination if they resist. Baysangur and Ibragim Yangulbaev — two sons of Zarema Musaeva — were placed on the list of terrorists and extremists by the Russian authorities.

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