fbpx

Four Daghestani women flee to Georgia citing domestic abuse

31 October 2022
The young women after they’ve crossed over to Georgia. Image via @ncsosorg/Twitter.

Four Daghestani women claiming to be victims of domestic abuse and death threats have successfully fled to Georgia after being held up by Russian border guards for almost a day.

NC SOS Crisis Group, a queer rights organisation operating in the North Caucasus, confirmed to OC Media that the four women were allowed to cross the Russian-Georgian border on Sunday evening.

Khadijat and Patimat Khizriyeva, sisters aged 20 and 18, and 24-year-old Aminat Gazimagomedova and her close relative, 19-year-old Patimat Magomedova, fled Daghestan on Saturday.

NC SOS said the women had endured physical abuse by relatives who demanded ‘religious obedience from them’ for years. In addition, they had all reportedly undergone female genital mutilation in their childhood.

[Read more on OC Media: Muftiate of Daghestan promises religious ban on female genital mutilation

The girls were detained at the Upper Lars checkpoint for hours on Saturday, before finally being allowed to leave Russia on Sunday, according to NC SOS’s press secretary, Aleksandra Miroshnikova.

‘The Russian border guards let them go thanks to publicity and huge public pressure’, Miroshnikova told OC Media. ‘This case is an example of how publicity and caring can save lives.’

Advertisements

The advocacy group had sent a lawyer to the Russian checkpoint to prevent the authorities from turning the victims away and back to Daghestan, later publishing a joint address by the four women explaining their situation.

‘I plead not to be handed over to my relatives because they are looking for me to kill me’, said one of the girls in the video.

NC SOS has claimed that the Russian border authorities came up with several reasons to hold them up, adding that a local Daghestani human rights official had reportedly attempted to impede the women’s crossing by alleging that they were wanted for theft.

NC SOS also published a video of two individuals, identified by them as the mother and cousin of the sisters Khizriyeva, evidently trying to pressure them to return home at the Russian checkpoint.

Upon their arrival in Georgia, NC SOS appealed to the Georgian authorities to ensure their safe exit from the Georgian checkpoint, warning that the girls’ relatives had dispatched acquaintances in Georgia to receive the girls.

Patimat Magomedova after being physically abused by a family member in 2021. Image via NC SOS Crisis Group.

The four girls fled their home republic of Daghestan to another Russian region after the youngest of the group turned 18 in August. NC SOS has reported that the young women decided to leave the country after one of them was roped into an arranged marriage.

Soon after the reports emerged about the four women crossing into Georgia, Ayna Gamzatova, a prominent Daghestani journalist and spouse of the Republic’s mufti, called on them to return, warning them that they ‘faced difficult lives abroad’.

‘If you have at least some regret about what happened, come back to Daghestan’.

Fierce, independent journalism

Let’s be honest, the media situation in the Caucasus is grim. Every day we are accused of ‘serving the enemy’ whoever that enemy may be. Our journalists have been harassed, arrested, beaten, and exiled. But nevertheless, we persevere. For us this is a labour of love. Unfortunately, we cannot run OC Media on love alone, journalism is expensive and funding is scarce. Our sole mission is to serve the interests of all peoples of the region. You can support us today for as little as $1 a month and join us in the fight for a better Caucasus.

Support Us