“Sometimes, husbands beat their wives” – head of Chechnya defends alleged killers of 23-year-old girl
23-year-old Madina Umaeva died in the city of Gudermes in Chechnya, a republic within Russia, on June 12. Her family said she was subjected to violence by her husband and his family.
But then the mother of the deceased Chechen woman apologized to the head of the republic for her statement, just as residents of Chechnya are often forced to do when their words, for one reason or another, displease the omnipotent Ramzan Kadyrov.
The president of Chechnya himself publicly stood up for the family of the alleged perpetrator.
The mother’s apology was broadcast on the local state television station.
“I ask everyone to forgive me,” said Hutmat Davletmirzaeva before the camera. “I was wrong, I listened to everything that people had to say. I want to apologize to the head of [Chechnya] and to everyone,” she said. The deceased girl’s uncle also apologized and assured everyone that her children would be returned to their father.
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“They’ll get over it, go back to your husband”
Madina Umaeva died on June 12. Her relatives claimed that Madina was killed by her husband. The young woman tried several times to leave her husband due to domestic violence, and also complained about the behaviour of her mother-in-law.
In an interview with the Caucasian Knot, the girl’s mother spoke about her daughter’s quarrel with her husband shortly before her death:
“For a few days leading up to her death, Madina was staying with me because she had had a fight [with her husband’s family]. She left the children there. After three days, I told her, ‘Go back home to your children, how can you live without them? Don’t worry, they’ll get over it, they won’t be upset, go.’”
The day after she sent her daughter back, Hutmat had to rush over to her house, as Madina had “shut down” and refused to talk with her husband’s family. The mother again tried to convince her daughter to reconcile and went home. And in the evening she was informed that Madina had become ill.
“Two of my daughters and I went over to her house and she was already dead. I was in a state of shock. I begged them, crying: ‘Why bury her at night? Leave it until morning, let me spend the night with her.’ But no, they wouldn’t even show me the body. Once they showed her to me, she was already cleaned up and covered up. Only her face was showing,” said Hutmat.
The husband’s family categorically rejected the accusations of domestic violence, saying that the cause of Madina’s death was an epileptic seizure. Hutmat says that her daughter never had epilepsy. She said that they are trying to cover up Madina’s husband’s identity, since he works in law enforcement. Relatives of the deceased girl insisted that her body be exhumed and autopsied, which it was on June 20.
On June 24, the state television station broadcast a special report on the death of Madina Umaeva. President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov was at the center of the report.
He stated that the autopsy showed no signs of violent death and expressed disappointment that the body of the victim had been subjected to an autopsy, which is ‘contrary to national traditions’. Kadyrov addressed the victim’s mother:
“They pulled out all of her organs, tore off her head. Even if they had killed her, all you had to do was make everyone swear that they hadn’t seen anything. But you made them drag out your daughter’s corpse.”
The head of Chechnya ordered the mother’s granddaughters to be taken from Hutmat Davletmirzaeva and returned to their father, Vishadzhi Hamidov.
In part of the video clip quoted by Mediazone, Kadyrov says that the deceased girl “should have clung to her marriage,” because “all marriages have conflicts and quarrels, and sometimes husbands beat their wives.”
In an interview with the Caucasian Knot, Abubakar Yangulbaev, a lawyer with the NGO Committee Against Torture, noted that the official explanation of Umaeva’s death and the results of the official examination raise questions.
“Many different things could have happened. All that we see from this video—a strange burial ceremony, strange testimonies of those who witnessed or participated in the events—makes the story very vague, meaning that it is necessary not only to conduct a preliminary check, but to open a criminal case and conduct a real, full-scale investigation,” he concluded.