Senior Chechen officials applauded the son of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov for allegedly beating up a teenager who was detained earlier this year on charges of burning the Koran.
Nikita Zhuravel, 19, was detained in May on suspicion of publicly burning a Koran in the southwestern region of Volgograd. The criminal case against him was handed to investigators in the majority Muslim republic of Chechnya after "multiple requests by residents."
Lawyers and activists warned that Zhuravel’s transfer to Chechnya, which has a history of human rights abuses under Kadyrov’s 16-year rule, placed the young man at risk of torture and even death.
Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova issued a statement this week saying she received a complaint from Zhuravel accusing the Chechen leader's 15-year-old son Adam of beating him in detention.
Moskalkova’s counterpart in Chechnya has vowed to investigate the incident.
But Kadyrov’s close allies Adam Delimkhanov and Magomed Daudov, lavished praise on the younger Kadyrov for his “justified” actions.
“State Duma deputies, Russian senators from the republic of Chechnya and I personally support Adam Ramzanovich,” said Delimkhanov, who is a member of Russia’s lower-house Duma.
“Considering the heinous crime of this subhuman Zhuravel, Adam acted very humanely by letting him live,” Delimkhanov added.
Daudov, the speaker of Chechnya’s regional parliament argued that both Chechens and Russians “not only understand but fervently support and endorse” Kadyrov's son.
In a Friday post on the Telegram messaging app, Daudov claimed the Koran-burning stunt was a Ukrainian special operation to provoke a religious conflict in Russia.
Kadyrov himself threatened to attack other countries where similar Koran-burning incidents had taken place.
Neither Russia's human rights commissioner Moskalkova nor the Kremlin have commented on the latest statements by the members of Kadyrov’s inner circle.