Archive Documents

You may find here the old articles, presentations, lectures and speeches related with Chechnya.

Bookshelf

Information about the books that are related to Chechnya and the Chechens

Chechen Culture

Articles, materials and more about Chechen culture.

Lyrics

You may read the lyrics of the most famous Chechen songs, listen and also download them.

Poems

You may find here the poems that are written on Chechen people and also the poems by the very well known Chechen poets

Home » News

Chechen Refugee at Risk for Extradition from Belgium

Submitted by on Wednesday, 23 March 2011.    4,637 views 5 Comments
Chechen Refugee at Risk for Extradition from Belgium

The Belgian media has reported that the Justice Minister of Belgium has signed an extradition decision for a Chechen refugee, allowing him to be sent back to Russia. However, Pax Christi Flanders, Amnesty International and Russian human rights organization “Memorial” are against the extradition.

According to the news, in 1999-2000, Arbi Zarmaev fought in the Chechen resistance against the Russian invasion. After he returned to civil life, but when the Russians learned that he was a former fighter, they tried to kill him. Then, in 2002, he ran from Chechnya to Belgium. He was granted refugee status there soon after. After he received the status, he married and had two children in Belgium. In December 2008, he was arrested by Belgian police in Oostende on suspicion of a crime, but Zarmaev has denied all of the allegations. Since then, he has been in prison in the city of Hasselt. On March 8, Stefaan De Clerck, the Belgian Justice Minister, signed a document ordering his extradition from Belgium to Russia at the request of Russian authorities.

However, human rights organizations like Pax Christi Flanders, Amnesty International and Memorial are strongly against the decision. On March 14th, two lawyers, Paul Bekaert and Thomas Gillis, delivered a petition to the State Council for a suspension of the extradition.

“If this decision stands, it will bring immediate danger to the life of the individual. It is in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights,” said Jo Hanssens, Chairman of Pax Christi Flanders,

Jo Hanssens also drew attention to the decisions on Chechnya from the European Court of Human Rights where Russia has been repeatedly condemned for human rights violations. He said that it is an illusion to believe that Russia will comply with human rights. “According to the independent NGOs, there are more than 25,000 Chechen prisoners. We have numerous reports and testimonies from Chechen prisoners who were tortured and humiliated during interrogation, custody and later while they were serving their sentences. The chances of a fair trial for Zarmaev are virtually nonexistent,” said Jo Hanssens.

Andi Zarmaev, brother of the Chechen prisoner, said that he recently visited his brother and it turned out that Arbi was kept in isolation for nine days. The Belgian authorities claim that it was a disciplinary sanction due to an incident between Arbi and the prison guards. But Arbi’s brother believes that it was a request from Russia.

On the other hand, Jan Boeykens, the President of Werkgroep Morkhoven Association has published a press statement. According to the press-release, on March 22nd, they tried to hold a demonstration in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels together with 40 Chechens. But, their action was shut down immediately. All the protesters were surrounded by police and obliged to give them their identity cards. The police also destroyed a banner with the words: “Freedom to Arbi!”. Jan Boeykens pointed out that if Arbi, who was granted political refugee status and weighs 50kg at the moment, dies in prison due to torture and exhaustion, the Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck will be personally liable.

*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco

5 Comments »

  • Werkgroep Morkhoven said:

    Arbi Zarmaev is now detained in the so-called “Guantanamo block” of the prison of Bruges. It is somehow “good news”, since he has left the “Dachau block”, named after the Nazi concentration camp, where it normally takes a miracle to get out alive. He is just skin and bones, but better than last week, says his brother Andi. He has survived by miracle to 4 days “sanction”, deprived of water, hand shackled behind his back, with bread dropped from the cell door in the prison of Hasselt.

    Andi Zarmaev, supported by his sister Khedi, denies he has been interviewed for the first article ever published in the Belgian press… just to ridicule the case. It occurs they were able to record a hearing at the Belgian State Counsel. The delegate of the justice department clearly states a negotiation with a Russian embassy, according to which the sentence of Arbi Zarmaev had to be confirmed, or else Russia would no more consider freeing Belgians
 which supposes spies!

  • Jan Boeykens said:

    Here is a translation in French of our Open Letter of 26.3.2011 to the Belgian Ministre of Justice, Stefaan De Clerck (CD&V, christen-democratic party):

    TORTURE DANS LES PRISONS BELGES- ARBI ZAMAEV: LETTRE OUVERTE AU MINISTRE DE CLERCK

    Bruxelles, 26 Mars 2011

    Monsieur Stefaan De Clerck, Ministre de la Justice
    Boulevard de Waterloo 115, 1000 Bruxelles.

    Cher Monsieur De Clerck,

    Objet: Arbi Zarmaev, prison de Bruges, nĂ©cessitĂ© urgente d’examiner son cas et d’intervenir

    On m’a appris la nouvelle que le rufugĂ© politique TchetchĂšne Arbi Zarmaev, dont vous prĂ©voyez l’extradition sur demande de la FĂ©dĂ©ration Russe, est actuellement enfermĂ© sous les condittions les plus inhumaines dans une cellule d’isolement Ă  la prison de Bruges.

    Avant son transfert vers la prison de Bruges, Monsieur Zarmaev était détenu dans la prison de Hasselt.

    LĂ , cet homme, qui se trouve dans un Ă©tat physique lamentable (il ne pĂšse plus que 50 kilos) a passĂ© quatre jour dans la cellule d’isolement de la section haute surveillance de la prison.
    Cela c’était produit aprĂšs qu’on l’eĂ»t faussement accusĂ© d’avoir ’dĂ©libĂ©ramment provoqué’ une bagarre entre dĂ©tenus, ce pourquoi il a Ă©tĂ© puni de la sorte sans avoir Ă©tĂ© donnĂ© la possibilitĂ© de se dĂ©fendre contre cette accusation.

    Pendant ce sĂ©jour en cellule d’isolement ses mains ont Ă©tĂ© liĂ©es par une chaĂźne en fer sur le dos, de sorte qu’il lui Ă©tait impossible de bouger, ce qui lui a provoquĂ© des blessures profondes au niveau des poignets.

    Il aurait été forcé à rester quasiment nu dans sa cellule et on lui aurait jeté son pain comme on ferait avec un chien, sans lui quitter les chaßnes qui retenaient ses bras et ses mains.

    Le frĂšre de Monsieur Zarmaev constata lors de sa visite que son frĂšre Ă©tait dĂ©shydratĂ© et qu’il avait des hĂ©matomes partout sur son corps et qu’il griĂšvement blessĂ© Ă  la hauteur du nez.

    On refusait de lui apporter suffisament d’eau potable, ce qui l’amenait Ă  essayer de boire l’eau du rĂ©servoir au dessus de toilet.

    Il a interpellĂ© le directeur de la prison de Hasselt Ă  ce sujet, mais ce monsieur semblait trouver les faits qui lui Ă©taient rapportĂ©s tout Ă  fait normaux. de sorte Ă  ce qu’il ne se sentait pas sollicitĂ© Ă  intervenir de quelque faćon que ce soit.

    Et aujourd’hui donc, Monsieur Zarmaev se trouve ĂȘtre enfermĂ© dans la cellule d’isolement de la prison de Bruges, oĂč on lui rĂ©serve le mĂȘme traitement qu’il a connu avant, tandis qu’en rĂ©alitĂ© il a besoin de soins mĂ©dicaux urgents. Il craint qu’on veut le dĂ©truire psychiquement en essayant de le rendre fou et qu’on finira par le tuer.

    Vue que nous sommes au courant des pratiquent qu’on employe parfois dans les prisons de Hasselt et Bruges, et qu’il n’y a aucun contrĂŽle sur les prisons dans ce pays (la loi sur les prisons de 1994 qui Ă©tait censĂ©e protĂ©ger les droits des dĂ©tenus, n’est toujours pas appliquĂ©e, malgrĂ© les nombreuses condamnations par l’Union EuropĂ©enne sur ce point Ă  l’encontre de l’état belge), je vous prie donc de vouloir en tant que ministre de la Justice, donner l’ordre d’examiner ce cas et de prendre les mesures urgentes concordantes.

    On administre à ce moment un sérum à Monsieur Zarmaev, mais sa famille craint pour sa vie parce que son état continue de détoriérer.

    EspĂ©rant une prompte rĂ©ponse de votre part, je vous prie d’agrĂ©er l’expression de mes sentiments distinguĂ©s.

    Jan Boeykens, Rue Faider 10, 1060 Saint-Gilles (Bruxelles)
    ——————————————————————–

    Cabinet de la Justice
    Boulevard de Waterloo 115, 1000 Bruxelles (Belgique)
    Tel: 02/ 542 80 11
    Fax: 02/ 542 80 00
    stefaan.declerck@just.fgov.be

    SoirĂ©e-rencontre ministre De Clerck – secrĂ©tariat privĂ©
    Quand: tous les lundis de 18h Ă  19h30
    Lieu: café De Middenstand
    Adresse: Lange Steenstraat 10, 8500 Courtrai.

  • Jan Boeykens said:

    Here is our original letter in Dutch to the Belgian Minister of Justice, Stefaan De Clerck (copy of this letter to mister Renaat Landuyt, member of Parliament (Sp.a, Flemish socialist party), ….

    Brussel, 26 maart 2011

    Minister van Justitie Stefaan De Clerck
    Waterloolaan 115
    1000 Brussel

    Geachte Heer De Clerck,

    Betreft: Arbi Zarmaev, gevangenis Brugge, onderzoek en dringende maatregelen

    Ik vernam dat de Tsjetsjeense politieke vluchteling Arbi Zarmaev die u wil uitwijzen omdat de Russische Federatie om zijn uitlevering verzoekt, in de gevangenis van Brugge, in de meest onmenselijke omstandigheden, in een isoleercel is opgesloten.

    Voordat hij naar de gevangenis van Brugge werd gevoerd, bevond de heer Zarmaev zich in de gevangenis van Hasselt.

    De man die er erbarmelijk slecht aan toe is (hij weegt nog slechts een 50 kg), zat er gedurende 4 dagen lang in een isoleercel van de veiligheidheidsafdeling opgesloten. Hij was er valselijk van beschuldigd ‘een gevecht te hebben uitgelokt’ en was daarop gesanctioneerd zonder zich tegen de betichtingen te kunnen verdedigen.

    Gedurende al die dagen waren zijn handen met ijzeren ketenen op zijn rug gebonden zodat hij zich niet kon bewegen, wat diepe verwondingen in zijn polsen veroorzaakte.

    Hij zou nauwelijks gekleed zijn geweest en het brood zou hem gewoon, zoals bij een hond, zijn toegesmeten geweest in zijn cel zonder dat zijn armen en handen werden losgemaakt.

    Hij kreeg bijna geen drinken zodat hij trachtte te drinken via de waterbak die zich boven het toilet bevond.

    De broer van de heer Zarmaev stelde bij zijn bezoek vast dat de heer Zarmaev gedeshydrateerd was en over zijn ganse lichaam blauwe plekken vertoont Verder bleek de heer Zarmaev zwaar gewond te zijn aan zijn neus.

    Hij sprak hierover met de directeur van de gevangenis van Hasselt die dit de gewoonste zaak ter wereld zou hebben gevonden en niets ondernomen heeft.

    De heer Zarmaev is, zoals gezegd, nog altijd in een isoleercel opgesloten in de gevangenis van Brugge terwijl hij dringende medische zorgen nodig heeft. Hij vreest dat men hem wil breken door hem krankzinnig te maken en dat men hem wil vermoorden.

    Gezien wij weten hoe het er in de gevangenissen van Hasselt en Brugge soms aan toegaat en omdat er geen enkele controle is op wat er in de Belgische gevangenissen gebeurt (de gevangeniswet uit 1994 die de rechten van de gevangenen moest regelen, wordt niettegenstaande de talrijke europese veroordelingen van de Belgische Staat, nog steeds niet toegepast), verzoek ik u om uw functie dringend de opdracht te geven om deze zaak grondig te onderzoeken en de noodzakelijke maatregelen te laten nemen.

    De heer Zarmaev krijgt thans serum toegediend maar zijn familie vreest voor zijn leven omdat zijn toestand er steeds verder op verslechtert.

    In afwachting van uw antwoord, teken ik,

    Hoogachtend,

    Jan Boeykens, Faiderstraat 10, 1060 Sint-Gillis (Brussel)
    ——————————————————————–

    Kabinet Justitie
    Waterloolaan 115
    1000 Brussel
    Telefoon: 02/ 542 80 11
    Fax: 02/ 542 80 00
    stefaan.declerck@just.fgov.be

    Contactavond minister De Clerck – prive-secretariaat
    Wanneer: elke maandag van 18u tot 19u30.
    Plaats: cafe De Middenstand
    Adres: Lange Steenstraat 10 – 8500 Kortrijk

    http://www.stefaandeclerck.be/nl/contact/306

  • Jan Boeykens said:

    Today, we had planned with 30 Chechens an action for the liberation of Arbi who is still isolated in the most horrible circumstances, in the prison of Bruges.

    When we arrived at the Royal Palace in Brussels, there were about 40 policemen in 3 special police cars who were waiting us.

    It was the same police force (with also members of the secret police) as 14 days ago when we were coming together at the buildings of the European Parliament.

    They forbidded us to spread leaflets and to make photos.

    They repeated all the time that we ‘needed a permission for this manifestation’.

    It is on this way that every news about Arbi is blocked by the Belgian authorities and the Belgian minister Stefaan De Clerck (christen-democratic party) who made a deal with the Russian government for Arbi’s transportation.

    The association Pax Christi said on 8.4.2011 that the European Council (ERC) didn’t accept that Arbi should be detained in a Russian or Chechenen prison because there was a serious risk that he would be tortured and murdered as was the case with a lot of other Chechens.
    The Belgian minister of Justice and the Belgian Council were relativating this risk all the time. But how can they relativate it if they could not even prevent that Arbi was tortured in the prisons of Hasselt and Bruges ? How can they relavate it while Arbi is totally isolated and treated with psychiatric drugs in a Belgian prison ?

    We have contacted the european authorities but they want to cover up this case because they will prove that we are living in ‘free and democratic’ european countries (which tolerate torture practices in european prisons).

    We contacted also the European Comitee Against Torture and the UN Comitee Against Torture but they didn’t reply while the Belgian State was regularely condamned for torture practices in its prisons.

    Arbi’s family is very afraid. She thinks that Arbi will not leave alive the prison in Bruges. During almost 14 days the Belgian authorites are blocking every social contact of Arbi. 24 hours on 24 hours he is closed up and they are making him mad with psychiatric drugs.

    The family will not stop their actions. New and better organized actions without infiltration of the Belgian secret police are already planned.

  • Tesfaye Metta said:

    Ask Belgian police respect all are humanbeing & respect for human rights.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.