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Chechen Prosecutors Seek 5.5-Year Sentence for Kadyrov Critic’s Mother

Zarema Musayeva, the wife of former Chechen Supreme Court judge Saydi Yangulbaev. Yelena Afonina / TASS

Prosecutors in Russia's republic of Chechnya have requested a 5.5-year prison sentence for the mother of a prominent Chechen rights lawyer and activist, the Committee Against Torture rights group reported Thursday.

Zarema Musaeva, the mother of lawyer and activist Abubakar Yangulbaev, has been charged with assaulting the authorities and fraud — accusations she strongly denies.

Musaeva was violently detained in the central Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod on orders to appear as a witness in a fraud case and forcibly transported to Chechnya. 

Chechen security officers had also attempted to detain Musaeva’s husband, the retired federal judge Saydi Yangulbaev, but were unable to arrest him due to his judicial immunity.

Musaeva, who has been held in a pre-trial detention center in Grozny since her January 2022 detention, was previously deprived of access to the insulin she needs to manage her diabetes while under arrest.

Abubakar Yangulbaev and his brothers, Baysangur and Ibragim, are vocal critics of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and are based outside the country. 

Human rights activists have linked Musaeva’s arrest to her sons’ activism.

Abubakar Yangulbaev in January publicly offered to surrender himself to Kadyrov in exchange for his mother’s release.

Baysangur and Ibragim Yangulbaev were added to the federal list of “terrorists and extremists” in November 2022.

Chechnya has become notorious for alleged widespread human rights abuses under Kadyrov.

Commenting on the Yangulbaev family last year, Kadyrov said: “This family’s place is either in prison or six feet under.”

His close ally, State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov, threatened to “cut off the heads” of Yangulbaev and his family.

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