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What Should I Say to My Children?

Submitted by on Friday, 10 August 2012.    1,097 views No Comment
What Should I Say to My Children?

At the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000, when the Russian army’s second invasion began, I was in Grozny.

At first I sent my wife, Aizan Abdullayevna Amirova to Zakan-Yurt in the Achkhoi-Martanovsky district. From there she went to the 3rd section of the 15th state farm in the village of Nagornoe, in the Groznenski rural district. She arrived in the village of Nagornoye at the end of November or beginning of December 1999. On the 11th of January 2000, she went to Grozny, although at that time there was a terrible battle in order to capture the city. In spite of the fact that she was nine months pregnant, my wife went to Grozny, as she told her relatives, to check on our flat and get some of the children’s things. At the same time, the Russian forces seemed to open a humanitarian corridor so that the peaceful population could leave the blockaded city. On the 11th of January she went to Grozny and disappeared without a trace.

I found out about this when I was in Zakan-Yurt and immediately, as fast as I could, sped home. I arrived and began searching for her. With the help of some witnesses, I managed to find out where she might be. I found her on the 7th of May. Or rather, I found out where her body was when a neighbor from the Staropromislovsky district returned home to his house on Pugachev Street. They came to me because they had heard that I was searching for my wife in that district. According to them, they smelled a decomposing body and when they looked into the basement of their home (this was a private cottage, with a garden, which had a basement), they discovered a woman’s corpse. I went there and immediately found the basement.

I found my wife, or rather her disfigured body, in that basement. It wasn’t possible to climb down there because of the terrible smell of decomposition. I had to put on a gas mask before I could investigate everything there.

There were three wounds on my wife’s body: two wounds to her chest and one to the back of her head. They were machine gun wounds. The left side of her belly was opened with a knife. The wound was about 25 centimeters long.

After that, I called representatives of the Russian investigation department and asked them to conduct a forensic medical examination and full autopsy of my wife’s body because there were clear signs of torture and violent death. I saw this myself; I examined her body thoroughly and saw it with my own eyes. But they told me (the representatives of Russian law enforcement structures): “The most important thing is that you should be happy that you have found her body. Take her and be happy that we are giving you her body!” That was during the period when Russian forces did not give bodies back for burial, but rather sold them to relatives.

I took her and buried her with the help of my relatives. After that, I began legal proceedings. I have been continuing these legal proceedings up to today, without any results or hope that justice will be served.

At first, I was threatened. I was intimidated with: “Come on, wrap up this business”. There was one incident in 2001, when I was badly beaten in my own flat. It seems to me, that this was done to me for a particular reason. After that, I was forced to leave the place I always lived, from my home on Zavety Ilyicha Street. I moved to a home in the area of the ‘Neftyanik’ store, on Staropromislovski Highway. I had to change the residence quite often, but I continued pursuing the legal proceedings. But up today, I have still had no success. I have not manage to get anywhere in the pursuit of those who murdered my wife. After this, I turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. I sent all the necessary documents, petitions and I continue seeking for justice. One human rights organization took on my case and I was informed that the final decision on my case will be taken in August of this year. Russia must answer the Strasbourg Court, but I don’t know what the Russian government will say.

After her death, or rather, the beastly murder of my wife, I conducted my own investigation. I spoke to witnesses, and interviewed a great many people in that region. I wrote about this in my statement to the prosecutor. They also called these people and questioned them. There are witnesses, who gave sufficient concrete evidence.

As I managed to find out, my wife was taken by Russian soldiers. She and two other women were taken away in an armored vehicle. I even have the license plate of this vehicle: 206-214. It is reflected in the criminal case file. As far as I know, my wife and two other women were taken to their temporary headquarters, which were located on the upper side of the village of Tashkala.

Then, when I conducted a search for my wife, we found her body. In that basement. I am completely convinced that before she died, they jeered at her, savagely jeered at her. Before I went in search of my wife, I asked what she had been wearing. But when I found her, she wasn’t wearing undergarments. She was just in a robe, naked underneath. And there is one more fact that shows that they mocked at the women. Right in that basement there were mattresses, her things were there, her undergarments (that even the investigator has included in the case file) were crumpled in a bundle and were lying in the corner. Do you understand what I am saying? That shows that the ‘liberators’ were engaged in such barbaric acts. First they committed this outrage on defenseless women, and then they shot them.

When I dragged my wife’s body from the basement, I realized that there, below the boards, was one more woman’s body. We then brought her body out and buried her in the cemetery in the village of Prigorodny in Grozny rural district. And that second woman’s case is also being reviewed in the court, just like Amirova’s.

And so, today, I fight in the court with the Russian state about the savage treatment of my wife, who was a mother of four children. But, I think, it is all useless. In Russia there is of course a humane, honest and just court, though truly saying that is what the television shows. But in real life, it is the opposite. There is only violence. In this case I have been convinced and not only in myself, but by the facts of what have happened to my loved ones and friends, that in fact, in the courts no one is really dealing with Russian forces’ crimes against the defenseless population of Chechnya. It is just the opposite; everything possible and impossible is being done to hide ‘their own people’, to cover up all these evil acts, murders and violence.

I have read in the court proceedings the facts of my wife’s murder. The whole process of the “investigation” was conducted by investigators exclusively within of the official office. Even when I asked them to come out and to investigate, to look at everything on the scene, the poor prosecutor asked me to provide him security! That I provided him security, can you imagine? What more is there to say?

Due to my own bitter experience I have been convinced that it is useless to try to get justice within the state organs of Russia, within this system. I would be extraordinarily happy, if some kind of power appeared which could stop this savagery here and punish this evil. That it would have never happened again in the future. I, personally, have exhausted all my resources. Actually, there is a Russian saying: “the crow will not pick out crow’s eyes”. Would a criminal really punish another criminal? Of course they would never do it.

It is possible to engage in court proceedings with Russia and to get justice, I think, only if the third party, independent and honest would be involved. Maybe, that is the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, or the UN International Court. Only they can punish those who are responsible.

I am amazed at what is happening in Russia right now. For example, as soon as something happens in the Baltic, everyone refers straight to Strasbourg. But they ‘do not notice’ what is going on in Chechnya, this horror. And it is still ongoing, though in a slightly different form.

What should I say to my children? Who murdered their mother and why? Why has no one been punished for this atrocious slaughter? There are four of them – two sons and two daughters. The eldest son is already 17, and the youngest daughter is 10. Why are those who took the life of their mother enjoying their freedom?

Abubakar Amirov
Resident of the Staropromislovsky district of Grozny

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

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