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‘Thousands’ demand investigation into possible murder of Seda Suleymanova

14 March 2024
Seda Suleymanova. Image via NC SOS Crisis Group.

A North Caucasus rights group reports that more than two thousand people have demanded that Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office investigate the possible murder of Seda Suleymanova. 

The North Caucasus SOS (NC SOS) Crisis Group, which works with queer people and people fleeing domestic abuse in the North Caucasus, shared a form for submitting requests to Russia’s Prosecutor’s Office, Investigative Committee, and Commissioner for Human Rights on 13 February in its Telegram channel. 

They urged their supporters to contact the bodies to demand that they investigate reports that Seda Suleymanova, a 26-year-old woman who reportedly fled Chechnya to escape family pressure, had been murdered.

On 13 March, NC SOS wrote that more than 2,000 requests had been submitted. The group added that the Chechen prosecutor’s office responded to some of those who wrote with a refusal to provide any information on the preliminary investigation, stating that the applicants were not Suleymanova’s legal representatives or participants in the investigation. 

The group claims, however, that the department is obligated to verify the claim, as it relates to a possible criminal offence. They added that a case had not yet been opened relating to Suleymanova’s possible murder, meaning it was unclear what preliminary investigation was being discussed. 

Other applicants were told that their appeals had been forwarded to the Investigative Committee, which had 30 days to prepare a response. 

According to the Crisis Group, the authorities’ silence on the matter was ‘unprecedented’ in their experience working on similar cases, stating that they had always received some response from the Russian authorities since beginning their work in 2017.


Suleymanova was allegedly abducted from her flat in Saint Petersburg in August 2023, and subsequently detained at a police station on suspicion of stealing jewellery. According to the Crisis Group, Suleymanova was subsequently handed over to her uncle and aunt, since when Suleymanova has not been in contact with the group or her friends. 

Suleymanova had reportedly fled Chechnya to live with her partner, and avoid pressure and the restriction of her rights from her family.  

In September, Chechnya’s Human rights Commissioner Mansur Soltayev stated that Sulaymanova was alive and with her family, publishing a video of his meeting with her. In the video, where the original audio has been replaced with music, Suleymanova is seen walking with Soltayev, wearing a long black dress and headscarf.

Mansur Soltayev has been sanctioned by the United States, the European Union, and Ukraine, with Washington citing his reported association with human rights violations and abuses. 

In early February of this year, the Crisis Group reported that it had received information about Suleymanova’s possible murder from two sources.

In recent months, Lena Patyayeva, a friend of Suleymanova’s, has been conducting a series of solitary protests at the Prosecutor’s Office in Saint Petersburg. Patyayeva has been detained, and an administrative report was drawn up against her.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.
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