The leader of a children’s charity in Chechnya has been found dead with her husband, just hours after being kidnapped. Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzhabrailov were discovered in the boot of a car.
They are the latest in a series of killings in Chechnya, scene of a long and violent struggle for independence from Moscow. Prosecutors say the pair were found in a suburb of the capital Grozny, riddled with bullets.
The leader of the region, Ramzan Kadyrov has been accused of losing his grip on security there. But the Chechen president said: “This is a criminal act. It’s a provocation against the government. The perpetrators are trying to destroy our society. They don’t like the stability in our republic. We’ve begun an inquiry and I will personally take control.”
Just a month ago human rights activist Natalia Estemirova suffered a similar fate. She had been a fierce critic of Kadyrov’s government.
“The situation in Chechnya is simply out of control. It is completely out of control. And the laws of logic, the laws of the same mind are not applicable here. The federal centre, the Russian authorities, must do something,” said Human Rights Watch activist Tatyana Lokshina in Moscow.
The murder of Natalia Estemirova prompted outrage from around the world. One rights group, Memorial, blames Chechnya’s leader for ordering her murder, something Kadyrov denies.