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‘My task is to kill you’ Domestic violence victim who fled Dagestan describes family members’ thwarted attempt to kidnap her in Moscow

Source: Fortress
Musa Salgereev / TASS

Aishat Khiramagomedova fled her family home in Dagestan in October 2021, after reaching out to Krepost (Fortress), a charity organization that assists victims of domestic abuse. She made it to Moscow, where Krepost provided her with shelter and access to a psychologist. Within a few months she was starting to find her feet — she had a job and was looking for an apartment with her boyfriend. But on February 4, Aishat’s family tried to kidnap her and bring her back to Dagestan. 

As Aishat described in an interview, published by Krepost on Yandex Zen on Monday, February 7, her brother and sister managed to track her down in Moscow. They ambushed her and her boyfriend at an apartment, which the couple had come to see at the suggestion of a person who contacted them claiming to be a realtor. 

Aishat’s brother attacked her and boyfriend, hitting them several times. He took their documents and cellphones and tried to force them into a car — all while claiming that he was trying to “take care” of Aishat. Her sister, Aishat said, “only cared about whether I had slept with my boyfriend or not.”

As Aishat was being dragged to the car, she managed to attract the attention of passersby, who, apparently, called the police. 

“They dragged me to the car by force, I screamed and called for help. Two men were standing in the courtyard, they came over, I grabbed the sleeve of one and asked [him] to call the police. But my brother and his friend tried to shove me into the car. I resisted. I clutched the roof of the car, dug my heels into the minivan’s running board. My brother hit me in the spine. I doubled over from the pain, and he was able to throw me into the car. My boyfriend and brother were still outside.”

The police quickly arrived at the scene; they took Aishat and her siblings to a police station. She told the police that her family members were trying to abduct her and wanted to force her to marry. Aishat was taken into a common room, where she was confronted by her father and sister. She tried to run away but her sister grabbed her; Aishat’s father threw a plastic chair at her and started punching her in the face. Hearing noise and screams, police officers came in and took Aishat to a separate room, where they discouraged her from filing a police report against her family members. 

“Then my father came into the office and began speaking to me in Avar: ‘You are a devil, everything inside you is black! My task is to kill you, to take you to Dagestan and bury you in order to wash the shame from the family. I’m giving you two days to commit suicide, then I will wrap you in a shroud and bury you in Dagestan. If you don’t do it, I’ll give everything I have to find you and kill you!”. The policeman, not understanding what my father had said, continued [to say]: ‘You see? Your father is looking after you!’.” 

Aishat managed to contact representatives from Krepost and a lawyer. They came to the police station and the lawyer helped her draw up a statement against her relatives. Aishat then went to an emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a concussion. Krepost also published a photo of Aishat, showing the visible marks on her face from the assault. According to the nonprofit, Aishat’s relatives were released from police custody that same day (despite her statement) and have continued to look for her. 

Aishat’s case is the latest in a string of reports of residents of the Russian North Caucasus being abducted after attempting to flee domestic violence. According to Krepost, Aishat left home because her relatives were physically abusive and controlling.  

Perhaps the most high-profile case in recent memory was that of Khalimat Taramova. In June 2021, Taramova fled her family home in Chechnya after suffering domestic abuse and being forced to undergo “conversion therapy.” She managed to get to a crisis shelter in neighboring Dagestan, but was forcibly returned to her family by Chechen police. Initially, Taramova’s whereabouts were unknown; she later posted a statement on social media, claiming that she was fine and with her family. 

Summary by Olga Korelina

Translation by Eilish Hart

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