Demonstrations for Aslan Maskhadov
In remembrance of the 6th anniversary of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria President, Aslan Maskhadov’s death, demonstrations were held in Europe to demand the return of his body, from Russia to his family. A written request from the family, demanding the return was delivered to Russian embassy workers.
On March 6th, in front of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, a group of Chechen Diaspora members, and representatives of non-governmental organizations held a demonstration.
On March 6th, members of the Chechen Diaspora in Germany held a protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin.
On March 8th, at 11:00 am, Chechen Diaspora members in Finland and local human rights defenders, held a meeting in front of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki. The protesters demanded the bodies of Aslan Maskhadov, Khamzat Gelayev and other Chechens be returned for burial.
Here is the statement from the Maskhadov family:
To the Russian Embassy in the countries of the global community
Mr. Ambassador of the Russian Federation!
You are being appealed to by the family of Aslan Maskhadov, President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), who was killed by Russian security services on Mar. 8, 2005, in the Chechen village of Doykur-Evl (Tolstoy-Yurt).
Our appeal to you comes from the fact that the leadership of the Russian Federation, not satisfied with the murder of the head of our family, refuses to return us his body to us for burial, as required by the customs and traditions of our people, adding more pain to our loss.
The Russian authorities refer to the law on terrorism, adopted by the State Duma, but this law contradicts the Constitution, offends the traditions and customs of the Chechen people, and is inexplicable in terms of any religion. This law especially does not fit into the framework of universal ethics and morality.
Moreover, Aslan Maskhadov was not a terrorist – he was the legitimately elected Chechen president, recognized by many governments, and especially by Russia itself. Aslan Maskhadov denied terrorist methods of warfare and condemned terrorism in all its manifestations, wherever they have been committed.
When the Kremlin waged war for electoral purposes in 1999, the Chechen president did everything possible to avoid this bloodshed. Until his death, Maskhadov insisted on a peaceful settlement of the conflict, and in early 2005 unilaterally suspended all military activities in the territory of the ChRI, and urged Russian authorities to stop the bloodshed and start peace negotiations. He was killed during this unilateral period of peace.
We want to draw your attention to the essence of this inhumane law.
The problem of the burial of the killed participants of the Chechen resistance, as well as civilians tortured to death in Russian jails because of suspicion of being sympathetic to this movement, is common for hundreds and thousands of Chechen families who are deprived of the elementary rights to say farewell to the dead.
We feel that the law which denies the right of relatives to bury a loved one, and forbids disclosing the burial place, should be considered legal neither in a political context, nor in ethical terms.
Fighting with the dead, the Russian authorities descend to primitive barbarism, in which nothing is sacred and there is no place for the respect of human feelings.
We believe that the Kremlin’s behavior offends the feelings of believers of all world religions, and contradicts the morality of a civilized society. You cannot quietly look to such barbarism, because it can spread throughout the world, germinating everywhere.
In contrast to the Russian authorities, Aslan Maskhadov treated his opponents with dignity. When he was a Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the ChRI, he specifically stopped the fighting so that Russian troops could collect and bury the corpses of their soldiers, which were left on the streets of Grozny, and were eaten by stray dogs.
In addition, there were many cases when Maskhadov unconditionally let living and unharmed Russian prisoners of war go.
Throughout the military campaign in Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov guided Ichkeria in a war which was imposed on us, only by humane and civilized methods, strictly adhering to international conventions on the conduct of modern warfare.
In his short life on earth, Aslan Maskhadov never transgressed the sacred canons of human values inherent in every nation and every religion. Also, it is not his fault that Russian laws are being changed by each new leader of the country.
The earthly journey of the President of ChRI, Aslan Maskhadov is finished and it is not possible to help him anymore, but you are addressed by those who are alive; his close family. We ask that you convey our request to the Russian leadership. Perhaps, the Russian president will listen to it, realizing finally, that this horrible situation will bring him and his country nothing but shame and the curse of Allah.
Kusama Maskhadova, widow
Anzor Maskhadov, son
Fatima Maskhadova, daughter
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco