Arbi Zarmaev: Amnesty International’s letter to Minister De Clerck

April 20, 2011

Nadezhda Banchik, member of Amnesty International USA, urges Stefaan De Clerck, Minister of Belgian Justice, to end the tortures inflicted to Commander Arbi Zarmaev and free him.

San Jose, April 20, 2011.

Respected Minister Stefaan De Clerck,

Being a member of Amnesty International USA, and in addition, being myself an emigrant from the former Soviet Union, I am completely devastated hearing about the plight of Mr. Arbi Zarmaev, a Chechen, an asylum seeker from Chechnya. I was entirely desperate learning that Mr. Zarmaev was arrested in Belgium and subjected to beating and torture via forcible deprivation of food and drinking water, shackling, and sleep deprivation. Information about torturing of any prisoner in Belgium, the EU member country, renown for its adherence to human rights and law obedience, make me think that our entire world is moving towards a new Holocaust, since the Holocaust was made possible when Western world completely rejected any protection for a human life at all and for a certain ethnic group in particular. That time such a group were Jews. This time, it seems to me, the Chechens are made an ethnic group for trade-off deals with criminal Russian regime.

I am afraid not only for a Chechen young man who is « guilty » only of defending his homeland from marauders, murders and robbers known to the whole world as Russian mafia state. it seems that Belgium authorities secretly decided to make Arbi Zarmaev slowly dying behind grates just for secret deal with Russian criminals! I am also afraid of your country’s reputation as reliable and law-obedient, human-rights protected country belonging to the Western civilization, that just recently was considered moral leader of the whole world. No more humane place in this world? No more Geneva Convention for a tiny group that was unlucky to be designed international scapegoat in the epoch of international « anti-terrorism » war?! But who is a bigger terrorist in this case? A Chechen who was forced to take arms to defend his home or the second army in the world that bombed out his homeland to rubbles?! Do you know that Russia killed more than 250,000 Chechens, including 40,000 children? And how many people did Arbi Zarmaev really killed? Ask him, please.

I urge you Mr. Minister, to do everything you can to stop this embarrassing  case for your country. I hope you can urge your subordinates to free Arbi Zarmaev because he is not a criminal. In the worst, he could be considered prisoner of the war. However, in this case he is eligible for Geneva Convention protection. Anyway, he is eligible for Geneva Convention protection as an asylum seeker from the armed conflict zone.

Sincerely and hopeful,

Nadezhda Banchik, Amnesty International USA member

2 Responses to “Arbi Zarmaev: Amnesty International’s letter to Minister De Clerck”

  1. kruitvat Says:

    PETITION by Women of the world for Peace in Chechnya

    For the last three years we have been witnessing the most brutal type of slaughter in Chechnya, and we have decided to appeal to the women of the world to protest this tragedy. Of course, we would like men to join us as well.

    Please read the petition below and sign it if you wish to add your voice to the protest, then return it to us via mail or e-mail, or fax. Don’t forget to include your city/town and your country.

    When enough signatures are collected, the signed petition will be sent to both the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the president of the Chechen Republic, Aslan Maskhadov.

    Thank you for your time and attention in this important issue. If you have any questions concerning the facts behind the issues raised in this petition, please do not hesitate to contact us at the address below and we will be happy to share supporting documents with you.

    Victoria Poupko
    Boston Group Against Ethnic Cleansing

    Nadezhda Banchik
    Amnesty International: Group #35
    Women of the world — for peace in Chechnya

    We, the undersigned — women of diverse races, religions, nationalities and occupations — stand ready to take the initiative for peace in Chechnya. The pleas of both Chechen and Russian mothers have been left unanswered by the world community. Although few of us have loved ones among the hundreds of thousands of victims murdered or maimed in Chechnya, we empathize with their terrible tragedy. We are grieved about mothers of thousand perished Russian soldiers, the mothers, who even don’t know the circumstances of their sons’ deaths, covered with a large curtain of lie.

    We are lodging our protest against selfishness and indifference of the world that encourages world leaders to ignore the ongoing genocide of the Chechen people.

    Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the Russian military is carrying out the physical extermination of the male population and the moral extermination of the Chechen population as a whole. In the first war alone (1994-1996), Chechnya lost 80% of its industry. Now the devastation of the second war is approaching 100%. Everyday reality in Chechnya includes mass humiliations, torture and beating of civilians during “clean-up operations”(zachistka), the murder and mutilation of the adult male population (ages 12 to 60), the rape of women and girls; looting; hostage-taking, and the solicitation of bribes to release prisoners falsely accused, or even the corpses of murdered family members.

    Chechens are being persecuted not only in Chechnya, but also throughout the entire Russian Federation. The Russian authorities claim that Chechnya is part of Russia, but the Russian law doesn’t protect them. Russian courts presume any Chechen charged with a crime against the military to be automatically guilty. And those Chechens who have succeeded in escaping to other parts of Russia are humiliated at every step by not being allowed to register for housing, jobs or medical care as is their right as Russian citizens. They are being deprived of the basic means to survival; their children are often denied admission to schools and colleges.

    Recently Moscow organized the forced return of refugees from Ingushetya, the Republic bordering Chechnya, back to a completely devastated Chechnya, where from time to time the Russian forces still bomb some areas and conduct “cleansing operations,” rounding up what’s left of the population — mostly women, the disabled and the elderly. Those refugees had stayed in tent camps in Ingushetya for three winters: crowded, frozen, and malnourished; but at least they had escaped the bombing and killing in Chechnya. Their return to Chechnya means a return to minefields, bombed-out houses and roads, military checkpoints and “cleansing operations,” atrocities and constant fear.

    The atrocities in Chechnya are being followed by reprisals against those in Russia who have raised their voices against them. The Chechen war will soon overflow from Chechnya into other Russian territories as ex-soldiers and mercenaries (kontraktnik), schooled in murder, kidnapping, bribery and looting, bring their crime wave back home with them after their return.

    As a way out of this deadly morass we propose a summit meeting between Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation, and Aslan Maskhadov, president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, taking place in a neutral territory, e.g. in one of European countries under the international observers. During this dialog, we propose a moratorium on all military activities by both Federal troops and Chechen rebels. This, in our opinion, may be the only opportunity available to break the chain of hatred, violence, and death in Chechnya and Russia.

    Victoria Poupko,
    Boston Group Against Ethnic Cleansing,
    Boston, Massachusetts USA.
    Tel/Fax: 001 617 232-9613

    Nadezhda Banchik,
    Amnesty International: Group #35
    San Jose, California USA.
    Tel/Fax 001 408 243-8727

    The following women have already signed this petition:

    Alla Dudaeva, widow of the first Chechen president Jokhar Dudaev; artist, writer; Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
    Yelena Bonner, President of Sakharov Foundation in Moscow; prominent Human Rights defender; Moscow, Russia
    Svetlana Gannushkina, Chair of Committee Grazhdanskoe Sodejstvie (Civil Assistance);
    Moscow, Russia;
    Margaret Petrosyan, law counsellor of the Program Migration and Law, HRC Memorial; Moscow, Russia.
    Ella Polyakova, chair of Soldiers’ Mothers in S.Petersburg; S.Petersburg, Russia
    Tatyana Yankelevich, vice-president of Sakharov Foundation in Moscow, Brendeis University; Waltham, MA USA
    Bozhena Olshaniwsky, president of international organization Americans-for human Rights in Ukraine; New Jersey USA
    Aleksandra Shaikevich, a member of Rescue Global Neighbors, San Francisco, CA USA
    Zarema Masaeva, former director of the Foreign Relations, department of Arkhiv of Chechen republic of Ichkeria; Member of Chechen organization Refugees Against Landmines. Now employed at the USA Congress Library; Washingtom DC USA.
    Carol Vesecky, Director, Biointensive for Russia; San Francisco, CA USA.
    Nadiya Svitlichna, Chair, Twentieth Century Human Rights, Irvington NJ USA
    Ruth Daniloff, writer; Cambridge, MA, USA;
    Zura Shishani, president, New Generation of Chechnya; New Jersey. USA
    Janet Riley, peace activist and supporter, Friends House Moscow; California, USA
    Julie Harlow, quaker, a supporter, Friends House Moscow; Davis, California, USA
    Shirley Lin, member, International Women League for Peace and Freedom, San Jose branch; San Jose, California, USA
    Janeen Jones, Senior Research Assistant in the San Francisco Bay Area; California, USA
    Barbara Taft, member, International Women League for Peace and Freedom, San Hose branch; San Jose, California, USA
    Irena Sugano, Chair, Union of Ukrainian women in the USA, division 107; San Jose, California, USA
    Rose Marie Berger, Associate editor Sojourners Magazine; Washington D.C., USA
    Cynthia Martens, Sojourners Magazine; Washington D.C., USA
    Esther Sokolinskaya, Senior computer engineer, Massachusetts, USA
    Novella Jafarova, President, Protection of Women’s Rights in Azerbaijan, named by Dilara Alieva; Baku,Azerbaijan,
    Zalikha Tahirova, Coordinator, League of Women in Caucasus; Baku, Azerbaijan
    Sevda Shikhieva, Senior teacher, Azerbaijan Oil State Academy; Baku, Azerbaijan
    Guranda Gvaladze, Prof. of Biology, member of Academy of Science (USA), and Board of directors of Georgian Branch of Euroscience, Chair of a sector in the Institute of Botanic at the Academy of science; Tbilisi, Georgia (Gruzia).
    Izolda Chkhetiani, Biologist, PhD; member of Board of directors of Georgean Branch of Euroscience , Chair of a sector in the Institute of Botanic at the Academy of science; Tbilisi, Georgia (Gruzia).
    Nana Kotetishvili, Philologist, Ph.D; segnor scientist of Institute of History of Georgian Literature at Georgia Academy of Science.
    Maia Imedadze, ; member of the International Council of the International Association Kavkaz: Ethnical relations, Human rights, Geopolitics; Tbilisi, Georgia (Gruzia)
    Eliso Bilanishvili; member, International Council of the International Association Kavkaz: Ethnical relations, Human Rights, Geopolitics; Tbilisi, Georgia;
    Tsisana Rapava, member, Council of the Georgia branch of the International Association Caucasus: Ethnical relations, Human Rights, Geopolitics; Tbilisi, Georgia,
    Nana Ninua, member, Council of the Georgia branch of the International Association Caucasus: Ethnical relations, Human Rights, Geopolitics; Tbilisi, Georgia,
    Maria Pulman, law counselor, Kazakh International Bureau on Human Rights; Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan.
    Libkan Bazaeva, – Chair, The Union of Women of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, co-Chair of a public, philanthropic and charity organization Woman’s dignity; Nazran, Ingushetia
    Malika Umazheva, head of administration of the village of Alkhan-Kala; Alkhan-Kala, Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
    Zainap Gashaeva, co-Chair, Echo of War; Nazran’, Ingushetya
    Alexis Gilmore, Executive Director, Project of Randolph Bourne Institute; Menlo Park, CA, USA
    Lucian Siedler, Grizzly Island Trading Co, Suisun, CA, USA
    Karen Risdon, Sergio Lub Handcrafted Jewelry; Martinez, CA, USA
    Glen Lindenstadt, Founder, The Lindenstadt Co, Newport Beach, CA, USA
    Jan Slakov, Salt Spring Island, BC (Canada)
    Linda Shakoor, World Life Institute, Waterport NY, USA
    Mariana Stoimenova, (Bulgarian) Administrative Assistant, American University in Bulgaria; Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
    Simla Altunbay, Industrial Engineer; Istanbul,Turkey
    Nur Dolay, Journalist, France
    Julie Wornan, member of Comité Tchétchénie de Paris, France
    Anya Lauchlan – Children of Chechnya Support Group, UK., Granddaughter of Ahmetkhan
    Mutushev, head of the first Chechen Trans-Caucasian Mountain Government, 1917
    Peter Rolland Lauchlan (Children of Chechnya Support Group, UK.)
    Julia Gousseva, coordinatrice de la Campagne “Solidarite contre la guerre en Tchetchenie” (Russie)

  2. kruitvat Says:

    Arbi Zarmaev is again arrested. He is again isolated in Bruges prison where he was isolated, tortured and treated with neuroleptics to make him crazy. He was arrested on the moment he was going to the police station in Ostende. His family can not contact him. This is again a violation of the Belgian prison act (2004) which never has been applicated. The European Union has a big problem with the respect of human rights. Irish political prisoners are mistreated and tortured on the same way as in Belgium.

    We are all talking about ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ in the Middle East but since 2006, Marcel Vervloesem, member of our association and researcher in the childporn case Zandvoort (88.539 victims), has an interdiction to talk with the press. During 2 years he was tortured in Bruges prison. One year ago he was freed (and still alive) but his health was totally broken by the mistreatment in prison. He has again an interdiction to talk with the press; he can not work with organisations fighting child abuse; Belgian Justice has forbidden him to contact the members of his association who were visiting him during 2 years (every week) in prison.

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