Become an OC Media Member

Support independent journalism in the Caucasus: Join today

Become a member

Syria returnee women denied access to children in Daghestan

31 October 2017
Women and children arrive in Grozny from Mosul, September 2017 (Rita Roytman/OC Media)

Two women who returned with their children from Syria on 21 October are still in detention in Daghestan. The women have been prevented from meeting with relatives or to feeding their infants.

Twenty-five-year-old Muslimat Kurbanova and 34-year-old Zagidat Abakarova returned from Syria on a chartered flight to Grozny together with Ziyad Sabsabi, a member of Russia’s Federation Council and Chechnya’s representative to the Middle East and North Africa. In total, 21 people were returned, including 14 children.

Muslimat had come back with her three-month-old daughter, and Zagidat with her three daughters, the youngest of whom is eight months old.

Upon landing in Grozny, all the women voluntarily surrendered to authorities. By law, a person who ‘voluntarily ceased to participate in illegal armed groups and handed over weapons is exempted from criminal liability if his actions do not contain another crime’. The Chechen women were sent home while those from Daghestan have remained in prison.

Muslimat’s three-month-old daughter is being looked after by her grandmother, Amatulla Kurbanova. According to her, at the end of last week Daghestani Children’s Commissioner Marina Yezhova received permission to allow the mothers to feed their infants. But they have not been allowed to stay together.

‘While they were in the Sovetsky District, we were allowed to communicate. But as soon as they were transferred to the detention facility — that was it: they do not allow us to communicate or feed the children. I have a three-month-old baby crying on my hands, but they still refuse. The lawyer promised to get a permit for feeding, now we are waiting for it. And I myself cannot do anything now, because the child is in my hands,’ Amatulla Kurbanova told OC Media.

The head of Daghestan’s Human Rights Commission, Kamilа Aliyeva, told OC Media that last Friday she personally visited the detainees in pretrial detention centers. According to her, their conditions ‘comply with the law’.


‘No complaints were received from them. They have lawyers. Everything is within the law. They were detained because they were on the federal wanted list. Other questions can be directed to the investigative bodies’, Aliyeva said.

She added that Zagidat and Muslimat said they want to be with their babies in the detention facility, but that law enforcement agencies must prepare the necessary documents for this.

‘The law provides for this possibility. After [our office] appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the UFSIN [Administration of the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences], such an opportunity was provided. But now documents must be prepared that confirm parentage. They will be provided with conditions: a separate cell with a cradle, separate meals, walks. If there are complaints about some investigative actions, of course, we can then raise the question of their legitimacy to the Prosecutor’s Office. But no complaints were received from them’, Aliyeva said.

Kurbanova’s and Abakarova’s detention is also being considered by Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, she added.

Right now, online media in Georgia is in dire need of safety equipment, legal support, and technology as we cover increasingly challenging circumstances. Support small, independent media outlets in Georgia via our collective fundraiser.

Interested in directly assisting OC Media? Consider becoming a member.