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Mother of Chechen woman ‘killed by husband’ publicly apologises

24 June 2020
Screengrab from Grozny TV reportage.

Khutmat Davletmirzayeva apologised on the state-run Grozny TV channel, saying that she ‘hastened to conclusions’ about her daughter’s death being a result of domestic violence.

Madina Umayeva died on 12 June under unclear circumstances and was buried the same night.

Khutmat Davletmirzayeva, Madina Umayeva’s mother, apologised to the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, for saying that her daughter died as a result of domestic violence. 

The apology was broadcast on Grozny TV on Tuesday, following the evening news.

‘Apparently, I hastened to conclusions, believing the people who told me all this. I apologise for the inconvenience’, she said at a meeting at Gudermes City Hall, broadcast on Grozny TV.

Such televised apologies by those deemed to have committed actions objectionable to the Chechen authorities have become common in recent years.

[Read on OC Media: Chechen teenager gives tearful public apology to Kadyrov]

Davletmirzayeva also said that she was informed of screams coming from her son-in-law’s house the day her daughter died, and on the basis of this, her suspicions of murder arose. 

State-run television previously asserted that Madina Umayeva died from falling down the stairs following an epileptic seizure. Khutmat Davletmirzayeva has said that her daughter did not have epilepsy, nor did she have other chronic illnesses from which she could have died. 

In a half-hour long exchange Kadyrov harshly criticised the mother of the deceased for disseminating ‘false information’ about the murder of her daughter, and her brother for not ‘keeping an eye’ on his sister.

‘Your daughter started to rot in the grave, and then, because of you they took her out, not allowing her to decompose normally’, he said. ‘Now, because of you she is lying in a morgue and they are pulling out all of her organs, her liver, her heart — they are cutting up her whole body.’ 

Davletmirzayeva’s brother also apologised for not ‘keeping an eye’ on his sister.

Kadyrov also requested Davletmirzayeva tell him who first told her about the suspicion of murder, warning her that he would get her phone records for past six months and find out regardless. 

‘We will find out who called, the investigative committee will write out a permit, the FSB will take a printout, it is up to six months, we will read, we will all know’, he said.

Kadyrov also ordered that the two young children of the deceased, whom Davletmirzayeva has taken in, be returned to their father.

The head of the Chechen investigation department, Vitaly Volkov, said that the results of the examination of Madina Umayeva’s body will be ready within two weeks.

According to Kavkaz. Realii, the Chechen prosecutor said that the blood that was on Umayeva’s shroud during the exhumation was the result of decomposition.

‘Domestic violence’

Khutmat Davletmirzayeva uploaded an audio message to WhatsApp last week asking Kadyrov to investigate her daughter’s death.

Davletmirzayeva said her daughter recently came to stay with her for several days because her husband had been beating her, and her daughter’s neighbours in Gudermes alleged that Umayeva died as a result of domestic violence.

In the aftermath of Umayeva’s death, residents of Gudermes began to distribute photos of her on WhatsApp alongside a statement accusing her husband of killing her during an argument. 

In the messages, residents also alleged that the victim’s husband and mother-in-law were unhappy that she had spent a ₽20,000 ($290) state child allowance payment to buy a TV.

On 20 June, the Investigative Committee exhumed Umayeva’s body.

[Read on OC Media: Body of young woman exhumed after appeal to Kadyrov]

An unaddressed problem

Domestic violence in Russia was decriminalised in 2017 and similar cases are only widely reported on in the most extreme situations.

Alyona Popova, the author of the bill on combating domestic violence and co-founder of the Women’s Mutual Assistance Network in Russia, told OC Media in 2019 that over the past ten years, draft laws on the prevention of domestic violence in Russia have been submitted to the State Duma of Russia 40 times, but had never reached any plenary hearings or even to the hearings held by the Committee for Women, Family, and Children.

[Read on OC Media: Ingushetia shaken by child abuse case]

In 2019 Russia’s Public Defender, Tatyana Moskalkova, promised ‘to seek the speedy adoption’ of a ‘long-overdue’ domestic violence law, but the discussion over it scheduled for 2020 was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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