Chechen athlete arrested in Belarus, handed over to Chechen security services
Murad Amriev, the Chechen Mixed Martial Arts world champion who was hiding from Chechen law-enforcers in Belarus, has been extradited to Russia. According to the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Chechnya (MoI), he was arrested in Belarus and has been handed over to Chechen security services and will be taken to Chechnya ‘for interrogation’.
The Chechen MoI officials claim that Amriev was arrested for his alleged involvement in the use of forged documents, for which he had earlier been put on the international wanted list.
Chechen authorities have for several years sought to bring to trial the prominent Chechen athlete, who has recently been residing in Germany. Meanwhile, human rights activists claim that charges against the athlete have been falsified.
Amriev was arrested by the Belarusian border guards on the Russia-Belarus frontier. He tried to cross into Belarus after being detained in the Russian city of Bryansk and interrogated in the local Prosecutor’s Office.
Belarusian law-enforcement officials immediately expressed their readiness to extradite him to Russia.
Meanwhile, according to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, police officials in Chechnya have declared a blood feud against the Amriev family. So, if Murad Amriev returns to Chechnya, he could be subjected to tortures and even be killed.
The whole story began back in 2013, when Murad Amriev was detained and tortured at the police department in Chechnya. The young man personally wasn’t facing any charges. The police demanded that his elder brother return back to Chechnya from Germany. The Grozni Police Chief, Magomed Dashayev, accused Amriev’s brother of an attempt on his life, though he was unable to act on it because Amriev’s brother lived in Germany and was beyond his jurisdiction.
Upon release, Murad Amriev immediately left Chechnya for Russia, and then joined his brother in Germany. He managed to build a successful sports career in three years and even became the world champion in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
The criminal case against Amriev had been closed in Russia, but only up until February 2017, when the Chechen law-enforcers put him on the federal wanted list again. Amriev was unaware of the aforesaid. In May 2017, he traveled to Russia to get a new passport and was arrested there.
Following the reports on Murad Amriev’s arrest, the Chechen MoI leadership dispatched a special tactical team so as to escort Amriev back to Chechnya. However, they failed to do it, since Amriev had been released shortly after the interrogation and he immediately left for Belarus, accompanied by his lawyer.
The International Committee for the Prevention of Torture claims that Amriev’s life and health are at risk.
Meanwhile, Amriev’s parents released a video appeal, requesting not to extradite him to Cehchnya. There came reports on 9 June that the Amriev family left Chechnya for security reasons.