Person of the Week: Khalimat Taramova, forcibly taken by Chechen police from a women’s shelter in Dagestan

Week-ending 18 June 2021

On 10 June Khalimat Taramova, the daughter of an associate of Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was forcibly taken by police from a shelter for battered women in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. She was taken to Chechnya where she is believed to be at risk of so-called “honour killing.” Khalimat Taramova, who identifies as bisexual, fled Chechnya on 4 June to escape abuse by her family.

Photo: Screen grab from the video that Khalimat Taramova sent to Chechen authorities, saying she had left Chechnya voluntarily because of abuse. © 2021 Медиазона via Youtube. Source: HRW


The Moscow Times. 14 June 2021: A Chechen woman who said she fled abuse in her home region for her sexual orientation has reneged on her initial statements in a Chechen state television interview. Chechens who lose favor with the Russian republic’s authorities regularly appear on television to give what human rights activists say are “forced” apologies. Khalimat Taramova, 22, had previously recorded herself saying she fled Chechnya by her own free will to escape “regular beatings and threats” by her family due to her sexual orientation. Rights activists sounded the alarm over her safety after Chechen law enforcement officers raided the women’s shelter in neighboring Dagestan where Taramova was hiding and detained her last Thursday.

RFE/RL, 14 June 2021: Authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya are claiming that a woman removed against her will from a shelter for domestic abuse victims was taken by police in order “to prevent her abduction” by local human rights activists. Khalimat Taramova, the daughter of a close associate of Chechnya’s authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was forcibly taken by police on June 10 from the shelter in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s neighboring region of Daghestan. Authorities promptly returned Taramova to her native Chechnya, where rights activists warn she is at risk of becoming a victim of a so-called “honor killing.”

HRW, 16 June 2021: For about six months before 22-year-old Khalimat Taramova fled Chechnya on June 4, her family kept the young woman, who identifies as bisexual, under lock and key. They beat and verbally abused her and forced her to undergo so-called conversion therapy. In May, Taramova reached out to a prominent LGBT rights group begging them to help her reach safety. They promised to help but said it would take some time. Taramova couldn’t bear the abuse anymore. A friend who feared for Taramova’s life took her to Marem shelter for battered women, in Makhachkala, in neighboring Dagestan.  On the advice of the activists running the shelter, Taramova recorded a video saying she had left Chechnya voluntarily because of abuse and sent it to Chechen authorities.

Front Line Defenders, 17 June 2021: On 10 June 2021, unknown men together with police officers raided a women’s shelter for gender-based violence survivors in Makhachkala in order to forcibly return Сhechen woman Khalimat Taramova, who had been staying at the shelter, to her family in the Chechen Republic. Women human rights defenders Svetlana Anokhina and Maysarat Kilyaskhanova, who were present at the time of the raid, were reportedly beaten and detained together with 3 other women. The women were subsequently released and Khalimat Taramova was forcibly returned to her family in the Chechen Republic. […] Maysarat Kilyaskhanova is a woman human rights defender, volunteer of the initiative group “Marem”, illustrator and cartoonist.

Front Line Defenders, 17 June 2021: Svetlana Anokhina is a prominent woman human rights defender, journalist, and outspoken advocate for women’s rights from Dagestan. She is the editor-in-chief of Daptar, the only online media outlet in the North Caucasus that focuses on women’s rights. In 2020, along with other female activists, she founded the volunteer initiative group “Marem” that aims to help women from Dagestan and other North Caucasus republics who face the threat of domestic violence or death. “Marem” helps them to organize evacuations, find temporary accommodation, and provides legal and psychological support to victims.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, 18 June 2021: On 10 June 2021 in Makhachkala, Republic of Dagestan, the 22-year-old Chechnya resident Halimat Taramova was forcibly taken by the police from a shelter for victims of gender-based violence, where the young woman was hiding from violence and threats, and returned to Chechnya. Several days earlier Halimat had fled Chechnya, where she had been regularly subjected to physical and psychological violence from her family and to threats from the Chechen authorities. However, as a result of the ‘operation’ led by the police forces of Makhachkala, the young woman was unlawfully taken away from the shelter and ‘returned’ to her family members, who took her to Chechnya despite her desperate resistance, as witnessed by her friend – Anna Manylova [1].

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