The bodies of human rights defender, Ms Zarema Sadulayeva, and her husband Mr Alik Lechayevich Dzhabrailov, have been discovered this morning, a day after they were abducted by armed men who identified themselves as members of the security forces. Zarema Sadulayeva was the head of Let’s Save the Generation, an organisation working with children who have been affected by violence in Chechnya. It provides psychological and physical rehabilitation to disabled children, orphans, and other socially vulnerable groups. They work closely with UNICEF. On 11 August 2009, at approximately 04:00 am, the bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Lechayevich Dzhabrailov were found in the boot of a car in Mansurov Street, in a suburb of Grozny, Chechnya, with bullet wounds to the head and chest.
The previous day, at approximately 14:00 pm, witnesses had reported that up to five armed men entered the offices of Save the Generation claiming to be members of the security services and demanding that the head of the organisation and her husband go with them. They did not give any information as to where they were taking the couple. A short time after the abduction, the same men returned to the offices and removed a mobile telephone belonging to Alik Lechayevich Dzhabrailov, as well as his grey VAZ 2110 car. According to reports this is the same car in which the bodies were later found.
An investigation into the murders has been opened under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (adopted 1996), citing article 105, part 2 (a) for the murder of two or more persons; and article 222, relating to the illegal trafficking of weapons.Front Line believes that Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband Alik Lechayevich Dzhabrailov were killed as a result of her peaceful and legitimate human rights work, in particular her defence of those who are victims of the violence and human rights abuses in Chechnya.
The double murder comes less than one month after human rights defender and member of the Grozny office of the Human Rights Centre Memorial, Ms Natalya Estemirova, was abducted and murdered by armed men in a case that bears many similarities to these latest killings. Furthermore, the murders of human rights defenders, Mr Stanislav Markelov, Ms Anastasya Babyrova and Mr Magomed Yevloyev in the last 12 months illustrate the vulnerability and the lack of protection of Russian human rights defenders.
The abovementioned killings form part of an ongoing pattern of extrajudicial executions of human rights defenders in the Russian Federation that have been carried out with almost total impunity. On 15 April 2006, Save the Generation’s former chief, Mr Murad Muradov, was found murdered.