German Federal Public Prosecutor General opens investigations against Russia

The Tiergarten Murder is by no means an isolated case (Press Release)

After the German Federal Public Prosecutor General announced to be opening charges against the alleged murderer of Selimchan Khangochvili, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) noted that the crime is just one of many similar political murders. "Both President Putin and his Chechen governor Ramzan Kadyrov have repeatedly attacked people who dared to criticize the regime of the Caucasus republic," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director. "The attacks range from beatings, arbitrary arrests, and disappearances to murder."

Most of the attacks take place in the Russian Federation and the autonomous republic of Chechnya – but also in other states where Chechen refugees have found shelter. According to a still unpublished STP report on the human rights situation in Chechnya, Kadyrov has also built up a dense network of confidants and intermediaries in Germany. "The aim of this network seems to be to systematically control and intimidate the Chechen diaspora in Germany," Delius explained. "Kadyrov has installed many confidants in Germany – especially in the martial arts scene, but he is also trying to gain influence through security companies."

Investigations into the murder of Chechen nationals are also underway in other European Union countries. Only in January of this year, Kadyrov-critical blogger Imran Aliev was found dead in a hotel room in Lille, northern France. According to media reports, he was stabbed in the neck. The police suspect a political motive. The most prominent murder of a Chechen dissident took place in Vienna in 2009. Before his murder, Umar Israilov – human rights activist and former bodyguard – had asked the police for personal protection, but to no avail.

Selimchan Khanoshvili, a Chechen with Georgian citizenship, had been murdered on the open street in Berlin on August 23, 2019. Putin had described him as "cruel and bloodthirsty", claiming that Russia had demanded his extradition. After German authorities denied this, the claim was withdrawn. In January 2017, Ekkehard Maaß, chairman of the German-Caucasian Association, had unsuccessfully applied to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to provide protection for Khanoshvili.