Trial for Beaten Chechen Rights Defender to Start
The Austrian newspaper “Der Standard” has reported that a trial for the beating of a Chechen human rights defender in Vienna, Austria, is going to start in September 2011.
According to the newspaper, 52-year old Vakha Banzhaev, chairman of the Organization of Former Prisoners of Russian Filtration Camps from the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (OUFKL-ChRI), is a recognized refugee in Vienna, Austria. When he goes out, the police officers go with him, as they were given to him for personal protection. The organization which Vakha Banzhaev heads has documented more than 130,000 human rights abuses in Chechnya and many of them filed lawsuits at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Two police officers are sitting in front of his apartment and keeping watch. Because, on September 27, 2010, he was severely beaten. He was kicked and as a result of the attack, he is almost totally blind in his right eye. Vakha Banzhaev filed an official complain about the attack. A report about the investigation of the Austria State Department for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter terrorism (LVT) points to three Chechens who live in Austria. “Kosum Y., Wolfgang F. and Visita I. are suspected to have started a criminal organization and set up military intelligence,” says the report. And even more, Kosum Y was also suspected of being involved “as the protagonist,” in the murder of Umar Israilov, who was killed in Vienna in January 2009. “It is astonishing that Kosum Y is still at large,” said Peter Pilz, spokesman of Green Party.
Chechen human rights defenders call the attackers “Kadyrovites” (people who support and work for Ramzan Kadyrov) and say that their arms reach all the way to Austria.
“Almost all who had officially worked against the Russians in Chechnya, were killed,” said Vakha Banzhaev as he quoted familiar names such as Anna Politkovskaya and Natalya Estemirova, who he knew personally.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco