Commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush are not welcome

Well-known Chechen human rights activist arrested!

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) urges the Russian and Chechen authorities to release Ruslan Kutajew, a human rights activist and president of the Association of the Peoples of the North Caucasus. "Apparently, Kutajew is to be punished because he recently used a conference speech to commemorate the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush 70 years ago. Kadyrov has been downplaying this crime for years and has also ordered a monument to the deportation in Grozny to be dismantled," said Sarah Reinke, the STP's CIS-consultant in Berlin on Tuesday.

On February 18, 2014, Ruslan Kutajew held a talk about the deportation of the Chechens, Ingush and the Balkar people in 1944 during a conference on Chechnya. On February 20, the Chechen authorities called him in to be questioned. At that time, he was still in Piyatigorsk, Russia, but he returned to Chechnya on the same day and visited relatives first. At about 4:00 pm, policemen invaded the house of the relatives and took Kulayev with them. His family was later informed that he is detained at the detention center of the Interior Ministry in Urus-Martan. On February 21, the press service of the Chechen Interior Ministry spread the information that Kutajew had been in possession of three grams of heroin – leading to an indictment of the human rights activist who works together closely with the Lyudmila Alekseevna, Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, and with Igor Kaljapin, Chairman of the organization "Committee against Torture".

"In Chechnya and in other parts of the Russian Federation, it is common practice to plant drugs on insubordinate people in order to have them charged and bring them behind bars for years," warned Reinke. She also emphasized that Kutajew's reputation is impeccable and that the Chechen authorities must therefore set him free immediately.

On February 23, 1944, the Red Army started to deport all Chechens and Ingush to Central Asia. Approximately 460,000 people were deported. 40 to 50 percent of the deportees in the trains are said to have been children, but exact casualty figures are not known. According to estimates, 30 to 50 percent of the deportees got killed at that time.