Chiri-Yurt villagers ask OSCE, journalists for help
Ruslan Isayev, Prague Watchdog correspondent, North Caucasus - Nearly 2,500 inhabitants of the Chiri-Yurt village in the Shali district, southern Chechnya, where a so called special operation has been going on for nearly two weeks, have pleaded with the head of the OSCE mission in Chechnya and independent journalists to unveil among the world community the Chiri-Yurt villagers' desperate situation, and use their influence on the Russian authorities.
Chiri-Yurt, where the local cement works almost ceased to exist after military activities started in Chechnya, is often fired at from Russian positions near the opening of the Argun gorge. People also claim Chiri-Yurt has been a target for “mopping-up“ operations more than fifteen times since the outbreak of the second Russian-Chechen war, with young Chechens being beaten and mutilated in “filtration“ procedures. Just between 30 – 31 May, 2001, 78 people were detained and tortured.
The villagers also claim that the local police department set up by the Russian military has turned into a punitive institution that only boosts tension in the village, instead of protecting the rights of the local inhabitants.
Russian soldiers control the only local drinking-water reservoir as well as the whole territory around Chiri-Yurt, including farmers’ gardens and pastures. It has been alleged that soldiers regularly defile the cemetery, shooting at grave-stones and mining the graves.
Therefore the villagers asked the OSCE staff to send there an independent commission or influence the Russian authorities in any other way to stop the ongoing abuses in the village.