My Chechen Friend
I met with my new friend who smiles often and laughs a lot. He is a father of small children and works too much to support his family. He is young, but his body can’t cope with the long and hard days at work. He is still hanging in there, because he doesn’t want to be fed by the State of Finland.
Let his name here be Usam. Some years ago there was a knock on his door at his home in Grozny at four o’clock in the morning. The men who came in wore masks, all but one. Usam was taken outside, his head was hit several times with a riffle butt, and eventually he was taken away by a car.
After about half year Usam came back home. He had been detained and convicted to prison with fabricated charges, but unbeliavably he was released due to lack of evidence.
Usam had spent the first month of his detention in a cell size of 1,5 * 1,2 meters. He got out of the sell only to be beaten and tortured. Later he was moved to a bigger sell, but also the torture got worse and worse. The abuse left permanent signs to his mind and body. Usam’s name is on the list of people who should not go back to their home country if they have managed to flee and have still some will to live left in them.
Usam is lucky in many ways. He is alive and relatively safe. He has a family and friends in a foreign country, where he also got treatment to his traumas and injuries. When he tells about the torture, he spares the feelings of listeners and occasionally laughs an almost cheerful laugh of a young man. Then he suddenly becomes grave and the look in his eyes is old.
The men who tortured Usam live in Chechnya. They are quite high rank government officials. Usam would like to turn them in but can’t, because by doing so he would jeopardize his relatives who still live in Chechnya.
I don’t know what to do to help him, other than write his story and share his joy of him being still alive.