The kidnap and murder of a Chechen human rights worker and her husband have been condemned as inhuman crimes by the leader of the troubled region. Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzabrailov were found in the capital Grozny. They had been shot several times, and are the latest victims of Chechnya’s spiralling violence which some human rights’ workers say is out of control, and which they say may be orchestrated by the Chechen President, Ramzan Kadyrov.
“I am personally assuming control of the investigation,” said Kadyrov. “Solving this crime is of particular importance to me. It touches me personally as the guarantor of the constitution.” Kadyrov is a former rebel now loyal to Russia. Chechnya has twice seen Moscow send troops to crush separatist uprisings, and some critics say Kadyrov is linked to attacks on dissidents. Others though disagree. “I accept that Kadyrov is not an angel, but in this particular case I think that he is keen to have the image, locally and nationally, of a normal Russian politician, said Alex Malashenko, from Moscow’s Carnegie Centre. “So, I don’t think that Kadyrov is to blame for these latest murders.” The killings of Sadulayeva and Dzabrailov follow the unsolved murder of leading Chechen activist Natalia Estimirova. Her death sparked international outrage and the growing feeling that the defence of human rights is now all-but impossible in Chechnya.