PW: Attempts made to close down Chechen NGO
- February 7th 2008 · Prague Watchdog / Umalt Chadayev
Attempts made to close down Chechen NGO
By Umalt Chadayev
CHECHNYA – The Chechen branch of Russia’s Federal Registration Service
is seeking the closure of the Union of Non-Governmental Organizations
(SNO), a group which disseminates information about the human rights
situation in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The group was initially accused of committing a number of administrative
irregularities, and to this the charge of "inciting ethnic discord” has
now been added.
"In recent months our organization has been subjected to numerous
inspections by police and taxation officials," says Taisa Isayeva, the
director of SNO’s Information Centre. "These inspections have even been
joined by representatives of the law enforcement agencies of the
Southern Federal District. We are convinced that a deliberate campaign
of harassment is currently being conducted against our organization,
with the aim of closing it down on apparently respectable pretexts."
Recently, a request was made for a “linguistic examination” to be
carried out on a publication issued by SNO last autumn. It was claimed
that the booklet, entitled "Women and Children. The Right to Life",
contained language likely to incite inter-ethnic strife. Released in a
print run of 999 copies, the booklet contains texts in Russian and
English by public figures, artists, human rights defenders and other
persons well-known in the Chechen Republic about the killings and
massacres of women and children by federal Russian soldiers in Chechnya
during the two recent wars there. The booklet’s launch in Grozny was
attended by Chechen members of parliament, the staff of the office of
the Chechen Human Rights Commissioner, and representatives of NGOs, who
praised the publication.
"In releasing this booklet we had only one goal: to show what war – any
war – can do to peaceful civilians. We believe that it is morally
indefensible to attempt to justify war, which brings pain, grief, blood
and tears to hundreds of thousands of people. War is primarily evil, and
all the rest follows from that,” says Taisa Isayeva.
“The next hearing [at the Supreme Court] is scheduled for February 13.
According to information we have obtained from confidential sources, the
court is under pressure from members of one of the federal law
enforcement agencies which is demanding the closure of our organization.
We intend to seek justice by all available means," Isayeva concludes.
Report translated by David McDuff.
A foreword to the booklet, which, according to the Chechen branch of
Russia’s Federal Registration Service, contains stories that incite
A lot of stories were told and written about the war on the territory of
the Chechen Republic, which has been lasting for more than 12 years.
Hundreds thousand killed, crippled and missing citizens, totally
destroyed cities and village – that is the sad result of two military
campaigns in the Chechen Republic.
Our bulletin does not attempt to give any legal or political evaluation
of what occurred in the Chechen Republic. We simply aim to inform our
readers about pain and truth of the people who have lost all that the
person can have - the children, brothers, sisters, wives and relatives.
The whole world learned about the tragedy of the settlement of Samashki
in 1995, about atrocities of militaries in the villages of Aldy,
Kotar-Yurt, Alkhan-Yurt, Saadi-Kotar (Komsomolskoe) in 2000. The rocket
bombardment of the center of the city of Grozny in October of 1999, when
hundreds peaceful citizens died and were injured, shooting attack of
refugee columns in winter of the same year and many other things had
became well-known in the world. It is well known that in the course of
military activities the peaceful population, women, old men and children
usually are the most vulnerable.
This bulletin contains stories of people of different age, specialties
and interests, representatives of the literati. Each of them
differently, but at the same time, identically perceived tragedy and
pain of strangers. They sympathize the grief touched the people who very
often absolutely unfamiliar to them. The only question, which we asked
our respondents, was which case occurred to women and children at the
war shocked them profoundly with its cruelty.
Among these stories there are also stories told by ordinary people, who
experienced personal tragedies. It is the story of a father, who lost
two daughters during the first military campaign, and in the course of
the second war he lost their graves. Or the story of a husband whose
pregnant wife was raped and brutally killed, who himself conducted
investigation of the circumstances of the violent execution of his wife
and established names of all murderers.
We witnessed how the adults, who experienced so much in their life, went
through two wars, and now answering this simple question, started
worrying and being nervous at once. It was felt, that, recalling those
events, they again unconsciously started experience that shock which
they had already been gone through once.
Each of these stories is a whole history which allows us to imagine
scales of that, what was happening here in the course of military
actions, and the answer to the question: “Where does each war lead to?”
regardless of where it goes.
The booklet can be read on the website of the Union of Non-Governmental
Apparently the genocidal massacres of Chechen civilians committed by the
Russian invaders didn't have any "ethnic" content, according to the
masters of logic in the Kremlin gangster cave. But publishing the facts
to an international public means to "incite inter-ethnic strife". The
impudence demonstrated by those bloody murderers has no limits. N.S.