Murder investigation opened into Chechen woman’s disappearance after public outcry

Seda Suleymanova. Photo: Human Rights Group Northern Caucasus (NC) SOS

Seda Suleymanova. Photo: Human Rights Group Northern Caucasus (NC) SOS

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a murder case over the disappearance of a missing Chechen woman, Human Rights Group Northern Caucasus (NC) SOS revealed on Monday.

The investigation into the disappearance of Seda Suleymanova, who has been missing since her arrest in St. Petersburg last year, was opened under Article 105, an article only applied when case circumstances suggest murder.

Human rights activists have expressed concern that Suleymanova, who fled Chechnya in 2022 to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage, could have been murdered by her own relatives.

The request for the Investigative Committee to take the case on was made by Suleymanova’s close friend Yelena Patyaeva, who has been vocal in demanding the authorities investigate her friend’s disappearance and who was detained for picketing the St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office in January.

A year after Suleymanova fled Chechnya, she was arrested on theft charges by plain clothes police officers in St. Petersburg and forcibly returned to her family. Her friends and partner have had no contact with her since then.

Journalists who called Suleymanova’s family in early February were told that she was there, but was not able to speak with them. Her family have subsequently claimed that she ran away from home before the calls were made.

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