Lives of Chechen Refugees in Poland are Under Threat
Eugene Novozhilov, a human rights defender, sent a letter to the Kavkazcenter website about the poor situation in Poland for Chechen asylum seekers.
Here is his letter:
A commission of the European Parliament visited Poland on September 13-15 to inspect the situation for refugees there. A Chechen human rights activist, Imran Ezhiyev, took part in the commission’s work. Here are a few stories he told after his visit to Polish refugee camps:
In late 2009, Umar, a resident of the village of Chechen-Aul, arrived in Poland with his family and asked for asylum after being subjected to illegal detention and torture by pro-Russian Chechen security forces. In his interview, he told Polish officers in detail about everything that happened to him in Chechnya. After some time, “people from Russia” (as a relative of Umar calls them) threatened him. The relative believes that these “people from Russia” knew the contents of the interview he gave to the Office for Foreigners. After being threatened, Umar was looking for ways to evacuate his family out of Poland. He eventually managed to send them to France. Since early September, he was also preparing his escape from Poland. He appealed to the camp administration to issue him documents and told the staff that wanted to leave Poland. According to his relatives, just a day after his conversation with the administration of the camp, Umar was killed. His body, with signs of multiple stab wounds, is now in a Warsaw morgue.
Another refugee, Zelimkhan Turloyev, said he was wrongly detained by police in Warsaw last month and brought to the 4th floor of a building. They showed him 4 photographs of unknown people and demanded that he provide information about crimes that were allegedly committed by these people in Poland. They also demanded that he sign some papers, of which the contents were unknown to him. When he refused, they beat him with batons, trampled and tortured him with electric shock. The bullying continued, according to Zelimkhan, for more than an hour. After that, he was released with threats that they will supposedly “remember” him. Now Zelimkhan fears that similar things that happened to Umar will happen to him.
On September 14, at 8 am, four authorities (two in plain clothes and two in uniform) burst into the room of Imran Aliyev, born in 1975, without showing any identification. These officers also swore in the presence of Aliyev’s wife and 2 young children. They began took pictures of the room and placed Imran at the window, taking a few photos of him. They spent a lot of time writing out some papers and then finally left. His wife was in a state of psychological shock. She believes that the two “guests” in plain clothes were employees of Russian secret services. They said nothing during their visit and just grinned.
Sayeed Hassan Gakayev, a cousin of the Chechen field commander Gakayev, is in a private Polish prison along with his wife and young children. Sayeed Hassan Gakayev is included as number 1304 on Kadyrov’s list of wanted people and is subject to physical elimination. He has also received three “negative points” from Polish immigration authorities. Sayeed Hassan Gakayev asks us, human rights defenders, to prevent his forcible deportation to Russia.
A Chechen resident Ibrahim Gaziyev asked us to help him to get refugee status in Poland in November of 2009. Our intervention on his behalf, before the Office of Immigration, led to nothing. In January of 2010, he was forcibly deported from Poland and arrived in Chechnya in February of 2010, where he was shot dead without a trial.
Rustam Umarov and his family (4 young children, including a baby) also asked us for help. A specialist of the Department of Immigration, Mrs. Malgorzata, assured the defenders that his family will be granted asylum. In February 2010, police handcuffed him in a refugee camp in the presence of his wife and other refugees and took him away. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Eugene Novozhilov, human rights defender, Warsaw
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco