Father of fugitive Chechen woman denies abuse allegations and vows to bring daughter home — Novaya Gazeta Europe

Father of fugitive Chechen woman denies abuse allegations and vows to bring daughter home

Liya Zaurbekova. Photo: screenshot from video

Liya Zaurbekova. Photo: screenshot from video

The father of a Chechen woman who fled her home near Moscow earlier this month called his daughter’s allegations of abuse an “unsubstantiated invention” aimed at denigrating his family in an interview he gave to Russian news outlet Regnum on Tuesday.

Liya Zaurbekova, 19, fled her family home on 13 May and told Russian police she feared for her life, saying her family physically and psychologically abused her. Her father, Beslan, has denied her claims, and said the family hoped to find Aliya and bring her home.

In the interview, Zaurbekov blamed his daughter’s recent actions on a partner who had “misled” her and warned that her partner would be punished according to the family’s “own laws” if he did not convert to Islam.

Zaurbekova was detained by police and brought into a Moscow police station on Friday following a false missing minor report being filed by her family. Some 10 family members subsequently turned up at the police station to take custody of her.

However, police declined to hand Zaurbekova over to her family, and instead released her. She left Russia that same day with help from lawyers, Marem, a volunteer organisation that helps victims of domestic abuse, and Alexey Melnikov, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.

Last month, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened an investigation into the disappearance of Chechen woman Seda Suleymanova, whose family are suspected of murdering her in a so-called honour killing.

Suleymanova has not been seen since her arrest in St. Petersburg last year, when she was forcibly returned to her family in Chechnya, from whom she fled for her life after she refused to go through with an arranged marriage.

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