Controversial writer on trial in Chechnya

5 May 2017
Rizvan Ibragimov (Radio Marsho)

The trial of Chechen writer Rizvan Ibragimov began on 5 May in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Grozny. The court of first instance deemed his writings on the origins of the Chechen people to be ‘extremist’. The latest hearing is being held after the writer’s defence filed an appeal.

According to Radio Marsho, the Chechen-language RFE/RL service, at the beginning of the hearing, Ibragimov filed a petition to allow the hearing to be broadcasted online. The judge, to the surprise of both Ibragimov and his lawyer, agreed with the request. As of the next meeting, which will be held on 19 May, all hearings will be broadcasted online.

Ibragimov’s case went public last year when he and his fellow writer, Abubakar Didiyev, were abducted by police and taken to the residence to the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, where they spent several days. There, in the presence of pro-government writers and religious figures, both were castigated. Both men were accused of ‘substituting established historical facts’ and falsification. The writers admitted the fallacy of their views and promised to discontinue their work on history. Didiyev soon left Chechnya, while Ibragimov tried to defend his work.

Ibragimov is the author of the controversial Message on the Nokhchi [Chechen] Nation, which includes chapters such as, ‘There could be no civilisation without Nakhs [Chechens and Ingush]’, ‘Is Chechnya the centre of the World?’, and ‘Are Jews Chechens?’

Didiyev is the author of the similarly controversial, The Hidden History of the Prophets, which includes a chapter called ‘Nakh (Nokhchi) [Chechen] language — the key to the Holy Scriptures’.