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MT: Kadyrov Defends Honor Killings

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  • mariuslab2002
    The Moscow Times » Issue 4095 » Musa Sadulayev / AP Young Chechen women training in a gym in Grozny. Kadyrov describes women as the property of their
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2009
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      The Moscow Times » Issue 4095 »

      Musa Sadulayev / AP
      Young Chechen women training in a gym in Grozny. Kadyrov describes
      women as the property of their husbands.��

      Kadyrov Defends Honor Killings

      02 March 2009By Lynn Berry / Staff Writer

      GROZNY -- The bull-necked president of Chechnya emerged from afternoon
      prayers at the mosque and with chilling composure explained why seven
      young women who had been shot in the head deserved to die.

      Ramzan Kadyrov said the women, whose bodies were found dumped by the
      roadside, had "loose morals" and were rightfully shot by male
      relatives in honor killings.

      "If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of
      them are killed," Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny.

      The 32-year-old former militia leader is carrying out a campaign to
      impose Islamic values and strengthen the traditional customs of
      predominantly Muslim Chechnya in an effort to blunt the appeal of
      hardline Islamic separatists and shore up his power. In doing so,
      critics say, he is setting up a dictatorship where Russian laws do not

      Kadyrov's bluster shows how confident he is of his position. "No one
      can tell us not to be Muslims," he said outside the mosque. "If anyone
      says I cannot be a Muslim, he is my enemy."

      Few dare to challenge Kadyrov's rule in Chechnya.

      Kadyrov describes women as the property of their husbands and says
      their main role is to bear children. He encourages men to take more
      than one wife, even though polygamy is illegal in Russia. Women and
      girls are now required to wear headscarves in all schools,
      universities and government offices.

      Some Chechen women say they support or at least accept Kadyrov's
      strict new guidelines.

      "Headscarves make a woman beautiful," said Zulikhan Nakayeva, a
      medical student whose long dark hair flowed out from under her head
      covering, her big brown eyes accentuated by mascara.

      But many chafe under the restrictions.

      "How do women live in Chechnya? They live as the men say," said
      Taisiya, 20, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of
      retribution. She was not wearing a headscarf while shopping in central
      Grozny, which she said was her way of protesting.

      Most women now wear headscarves in public, though the scarves rarely
      fully cover their hair and in some cases are little more than colorful
      silk headbands. Women who go out without a headscarf tend to tuck one
      into their bag for use where headscarves are required.

      Many people suspect that Kadyrov is branding the seven late November
      slayings "honor killings" to advance his political agenda. He said the
      women were planning to go abroad to work as prostitutes, but their
      relatives found out about it and killed them.

      Few Chechens believe that.

      "If women are killed according to tradition then it is done very
      secretly to prevent too many people from finding out that someone in
      the family behaved incorrectly," said Natalya Estemirova, a prominent
      human rights activist in Grozny.

      Estemirova said two of the women were married, with two children each.
      Their husbands held large funerals and buried them in the family plot,
      which would not have happened if the women had disgraced their
      families, she said.

      Kadyrov's version also has been contradicted by federal prosecutors in
      Moscow, who have concluded that relatives were not involved. No
      arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing. Kadyrov's
      office refused to comment on the investigators' conclusion.

      Novaya Gazeta reported that some of the women worked in brothels
      frequented by Kadyrov's men. Many Chechens say they suspect the women
      were killed in a police operation. The truth of the killings may never
      be known, given how much Kadyrov is feared.

      Rights activists fear that Kadyrov's approval of honor killings may
      encourage men to carry them out. Honor killings are considered part of
      Chechen tradition. No records are kept, but human rights activists
      estimate that dozens of women are killed every year.

      "What the president says is law," said Gistam Sakayeva, a Chechen
      activist who works to defend women's rights. "Because the president
      said this, many will try to gain his favor by killing someone, even if
      there is no reason."

      Sakayeva also said she worried that Chechen authorities would now be
      less willing to prosecute men suspected of killing wom
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