Presentation at the Conference “Tchétchénie – Logiques de Violence et Expérience de Guerre” (Paris, October 22-23, 2012)
October 29, 2012

“Headscarf Policy” in Chechnya and Relevant International Standards

For several years now, the Chechen authorities have been engaged in a “virtue campaign” for women, the headscarf policy being one of its core elements. They enforce a compulsory dress code on women in Chechnya in public institutions, including schools, government offices, and hospitals, and attempt to extend it to public places as such, including for example streets, parks, shops, and entertainment centers.

Local officials generally justify the enforcement of this policy – as well as other elements of the campaign – on traditional grounds. However, it is contrary to Russian law, discriminatory, and is leading to abuses. While Human Rights Watch takes no position on Sharia-inspired norms or cultural dress practices, we oppose all laws or policies that impinge on basic rights, including government-mandated public dress codes.

Human Rights Watch has criticized the governments of France, Germany, and Turkey for violating religious freedom by banning religious symbols in schools and denying Muslim women the right to choose to wear headscarves in schools and universities. By the same token, however, the organization supports the right of women and girls to choose not to wear religious or traditional dress.

The enforcement of a compulsory Islamic dress code on women in Chechnya violates their rights to private life, personal autonomy, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, thought, and conscience. It is also a form of gender-based discrimination prohibited under international treaties to which Russia is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This policy is also in breach of Russia’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and gender equality.

Evolution of the “Virtue Campaign” in Chechnya

The “virtue campaign” for women has been a key project for Ramzan Kadyrov since he consolidated power in Chechnya. Kadyrov’s first public attempt to exercise moral policing of women was carried out in 2006 while he was still prime minister, shortly before his promotion to the presidency of the republic. Early that year, Kadyrov stated that the use of cell phones had a negative impact on female morality supposedly by providing women with an opportunity to flirt with men and arrange dates, after which several young women had their cell phones forcibly taken away from them by law enforcement officials.Around the same time, Kadyrov made his first public calls regarding the necessity for Chechen women to cover their hair.

After his appointment by the Kremlin as president of the Chechen Republic in 2007, Kadyrov began to more actively convey to the public the role he believes females should play in Chechen society and the social and moral rules local women needed to abide by. He openly asserted that women were inferior and should be subjugated to men, equating women with male property. He also launched a special program for the revival of moral values among Chechen youth, which placed special emphasis on modesty laws for women.

By the autumn of 2007, Kadyrov publicly announced, including on television, that all women working for state institutions had to wear headscarves and expected to see his wishes carried out immediately.

In November 2007 Kadyrov elaborated on the issue of female dress for Grozny and Vainakh republican television channels in November 2007, singling out the Ministry of Culture for its failure to enforce headscarf rules among its own staff. By the end of 2007, women employed in the public sector, including television anchors, female officials, teachers, and even staff members of the ombudsman’s office diligently wore headscarves to work.

In 2007 local education authorities introduced uniforms, which included headscarves for female students, in Chechen schools and universities. Those who tried to resist the headscarf requirement were simply denied entry to their respective offices or academic institutions, despite the absence of any legal basis for the new requirement.

Two female staff members of Chechen State University, who asked that their identities be withheld due to possible reprisals, described to Human Rights Watch how young male security guards routinely inspected their clothing for “propriety” and “broke into the classrooms,” including in the middle of a lecture, to check if all women had their hair covered. They described the experience as “deeply humiliating” for them as well as for other female staff at the university.

In a December 2008 interview with the BBC, the deputy head of the university strongly denied that the headscarf requirement for access to the Chechen State University premises contradicted the Russian constitution, saying that “no constitutional breach could be found, as elements of the uniform are accepted in numerous educational institutions in the country and [more broadly] in the world.”

The chair of the Rule of Law and State Building Committee of the Chechen Parliament, Mompash Machuev, also reassured the press that all laws of the Chechen Republic “are in strict compliance with the federal ones. All normative acts already adopted or to be adopted by the Parliament of the Chechen Republic are checked for compliance with federal legislation.”Indeed, the headscarf requirement, along with many other rules enforced in Chechnya under Kadyrov, are not provided for in law or even tabled before the parliament.

Gradually, throughout 2009 and 2010, the “headscarf rule” was spreading to public places in general, including entertainment venues, cinemas, and even outdoor areas.

Ramzan Kadyrov’s Sensitivity to Criticism on the Issue

Kadyrov appears very sensitive to public criticism of the headscarf policy. A leading researcher for the Memorial Human Rights Center in Chechnya and a close friend and colleague of Human Rights Watch, Natalia Estemirova – who was abducted near her home in Grozny and brazenly murdered in July 2009– had been vocally protesting the Chechen authorities’ policy to enforce a compulsory Islamic dress code for women since 2007.

In early 2008, Estemirova gave a long television interview in which she criticized the headscarf policy, insisting that forcing Chechen women to wear headscarves was wrong, unlawful, and constituted a blatant violation of the right to privacy. The interview, which was part of a program about the Islamic revival in Chechnya, was shown on REN-TV, a television channel that broadcasts to many regions in Russia, on March 30, 2008. The next day, Ramzan Kadyrov personally dismissed Estemirova from the Grozny City Human Rights Council,raising his voice to her, making derisive remarks to try to shame her for not adhering to modesty laws, and threatening her with repercussions for her unyielding criticism.

Paintball Attacks

In summer 2010 Human Rights Watch received numerous reliable reports of attacks on and harassment of women in public places who did not dress according to the locally applied Islamic code. Coercion to force Chechen women to adhere to a compulsory Islamic dress code has manifested itself in a number of ways, including public shaming, threats, and even physical violence.

In June, unidentified men, including law enforcement agents, attacked women who were not wearing headscarves in the center of Grozny, shooting at them from paintball guns. At least one of the victims was hospitalized as a result.Human Rights Watch conducted interviews in Chechnya with two victims and three witnesses of paintball attacks.

Parallel to the attacks, threatening leaflets appeared in the streets of the Chechen capital, explaining to women that the paintball shootings were simply a preventive measure aimed at making them cover their hair – if they failed to cooperate, more “persuasive” means would be used. Several dozen women interviewed by Human Rights Watch unanimously interpreted this as a threat to use real weapons instead of paintball guns.

The leaflet, a copy of which Human Rights Watch examined, read as follows:

Dear Sisters!

We want to remind you that, in accordance with the rules and customs of Islam, every Chechen woman is OBLIGED TO WEAR A HEADSCARF.

Are you not disgusted when you hear the indecent “compliments” and proposals that are addressed to you because you have dressed so provocatively and have not covered your head? THINK ABOUT IT!!!

Today we have sprayed you with paint, but this is only a WARNING!!! DON’T COMPEL US TO RESORT TO MORE PERSUASIVE MEASURES!!!”

Numerous sources, including women’s NGOs,reported to Human Rights Watch that the punitive paintball campaign ended in mid-June, likely due to the fact that its objective was achieved: for at least several weeks afterwards, women generally refrained from entering the city center without headscarves.

Commenting on the issue on the television station Grozny on July 3, 2010, Kadyrov expressed unambiguous approval of the lawless paintball attacks, claiming he was ready to "give an award" to the men who carried them out. He also stated that the targeted women deserved this treatment and that they should be so ashamed as to "disappear from the face of the earth."This comment amounts to open encouragement, at the highest level of the government of Chechnya, of the physical assault and public humiliation of women. There is no evidence that federal authorities responded to Kadyrov’s statement in any way.

Harassment of Women during Ramadan

Several weeks after the attacks subsided, some women cautiously began to appear in Grozny’s center without headscarves.

Around the start of Ramadan in mid-August 2010, however, another punitive campaign began, targeting women not wearing headscarves and/or wearing clothes deemed too revealing.

In the first days of Ramadan, groups of men in traditional Islamic dress (consisting of loose pants and a tunic), claiming to represent the republic's Islamic High Council, started approaching women in the center of Grozny, publicly shaming them for violating Islamic modesty laws and handing out brochures with a detailed description of appropriate Islamic dress for females. They instructed women to wear headscarves and to have their skirts well below the knee and sleeves well below the elbow.

The brochure admonished females:

Dear sister in Islam! Today Chechnya wants to uphold decency and morality. Your dress, dear sister, should be a demonstration of your purity and your morality, but mainly of your faith. Your clothes and your morality preserve your honor and that of your relatives and parents!

It also called on men to take charge of women’s appearance:

…a terrible picture is to be seen in the streets. We are not accusing women. The main fault belongs to the men. A woman won't lose her sense of reason if her husband doesn’t [lose his]. Men, we need your help. Of all that we see, the worst is the way some women dress. But what is even more terrible is that the men folk allow their sisters, wives, and daughters to dress in this way and don't consider that it is wrong to do so.

The purported envoys from the Islamic High Council were soon joined in their efforts by aggressive young men who pulled on women's sleeves, skirts, and hair, touched the bare skin on their arms, accused them of being dressed like harlots, and made other humiliating remarks and gestures. This harassment persisted throughout the entire month of Ramadan, until mid-September. Dozens of victims and witnesses spoke about such incidents and confirmed this distinct pattern in their conversations with a Human Rights Watch researcher.

In two cases reported to Human Rights Watch that occurred during Ramadan, law enforcement personnel harassed women for not adhering to the Islamic dress code. In the first case, a group of three police officers walked into a small grocery shop in Grozny and noticed that the woman behind the counter was not wearing a headscarf. They started screaming at her that she was a disgrace and demanded the telephone number of her boss. They called the boss, demanded that she appear immediately, and instructed her to make sure her entire staff was “properly dressed,” lest she face “serious problems.”

In another case documented by Human Rights Watch in summer 2010, several armed, bearded men in black uniforms – evidently, law enforcement servicemen– dragged a 19-year-old girl, who had long, uncovered hair and wore a long but clingy dress, towards a street trash container, screaming that she was a slut and belonged in a garbage dump. They would’ve shoved her into the container if not for the intervention of an older woman, whose screaming drove them away.

Women’s Perception of the Headscarf Policy

Numerous women interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Chechnya said that they found the virtue campaign, and specifically the headscarf policy, deeply offensive but could not protest openly, fearing for their own security as well as that of their relatives.

One of them summed up the problem in the following way:

It’s so humiliating, but you have no other option—you have to put on the headscarf. If, say, they hit you, and that’s not unlikely, then your brothers won’t be able to leave it at that. They’ll have to take action against the aggressors, who will just kill them. You dress according to their rules not so much out of fear for yourself, but to protect your family.

Lack of Response by the Federal Authorities and Continued Enforcement of the Policy

Neither the Kremlin nor any other federal political body has responded publicly to the virtue campaign or its implications for women’s rights in Chechnya. Perpetrators of the paintball attacks have not been held accountable for their actions. No federal body has publicly indicated to Kadyrov that his comments on the issue – and his “dream that all Chechen women should wear headscarves”– are inconsistent with Russian law and encourage lawless practices. Nor was there a response to Kadyrov’s public condoning of the unlawful and criminal paintball attacks.

At the same time, public statements by NGOs calling for accountability for the attacks on women in summer and autumn of 2010 prompted broad media attention to the issue in Russia and internationally. In the past two years there has been no repeat of the paintball attacks and other concerted harassment, possibly as a result of the flood of criticism and exposure of the issue. In autumn 2012, after Ramadan, pressure on women to adhere to a strict Islamic dress code subsided to a certain extent, particularly the harassment campaign. From then on and to the present, there have been no reports of physical attacks on women.

However, the headscarf rule continues to be applied to students, public sector employees and those working in governmental offices.

For example, in mid-October 2010, a staff member from a local NGO working in the House of Print—a large building in the center of Grozny that houses numerous Chechen media outlets and organizations—called Human Rights Watch to report that on October 8, Ministry of Information officials had summoned all tenants to a meeting. During the meeting, women were specifically instructed that that they would not be allowed into the building unless their hair was fully covered with headscarves.

Dress code requirements in Chechen schools are apparently becoming even more rigid. According to teachers’ reports, the beginning of this school year has seen the introduction of new uniforms with skirts below the knee, kerchiefs for girls in elementary school, and “[clothes] in full compliance with Islamic norms” for girls in high school. The schools appear concerned about numerous protests by parents, including those who oppose the new uniforms simply because they cannot afford to buy them, especially if there are several children in the family. However, they seem to have no choice, as the new “uniform has been ordered from the top [authorities].”

At least one district department for education also demanded that its female employees and teachers strictly adhere to Islamic dress code, with hair, neck, arms, and legs completely covered up. In spring 2012, a staff member of a district department for education told the BBC about almost getting fired for coming to the office with her neck exposed:

My dress was of ankle-length, the shirt buttoned all the way up, and my hair covered by a large kerchief.… But our boss had a screaming fit because my neck showed. He started yelling, “Do you think there is a change of power [in the republic]? Don’t you value your job?” He was so angry that I actually had to call my husband and asked him to bring me another scarf for my neck.

There is also a continuing public campaign to encourage compliance with the official dress code beyond government institutions, to all public places. Posters with slogans, “Headscarf is Chechen woman’s pride” are widespread in Chechnya, especially in the capital.Also, in August this year, staff members of the Ministry for Youth Affairs distributed headscarves to women in the streets of Grozny, as well as in the Sunzha and Shali districts of Chechnya. According to the director of the Ministry’s social policy department, Luisa Dzhabrailova, the approximately 1,200 headscarves were handed out within the framework of that project.

Rise in “Honor” Killings in Chechnya as the Most Dramatic Consequence of the Virtue Campaign

Women’s rights activists in Chechnya across the board have told Human Rights Watch that with the evolution of Kadyrov’s virtue campaign, they believe that so-called honor killings have became more frequent in Chechnya. They attribute this to the fact that such crimes are not only largely unpunished by the authorities, but tend to be welcomed and encouraged. The first shocking evidence of this came at the end of November 2008 when bodies of seven murdered women were found by the roadside in different districts of the republic. In his comments for the media, Kadyrov essentially condoned the horrible crime. For example, he told the BBC:

Here in Chechnya if a woman is running around, if a man is running around with her, then the both of them are killed. According to the information available, there was a woman who was “working” with the killed [women]—she wanted to take them away from the [Chechen] Republic, [she] was in the process of obtaining travel passports for them in order to sell them to brothels [abroad]. It’s being said that the women’s relatives [found out and] killed them.… I’m simply talking about [our] customs. Ask anyone, even the youngest boy, “What are you gonna do if your sister starts running around?” Anyone will tell you, “I’ll kill her!”

Several high-level Chechen officials, including the local ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, echoed Kadyrov in their assessment of the situation without suggesting that such “traditions” should be changed. “Unfortunately, we have some women who started to forget about the behavioral code of highland women. And their relatives—the men who consider themselves offended [by the behavior of those women]—do lynch them sometimes,” stated Nukhazhiev in connection with the women’s killings, which have gone unpunished to date.

Throughout the past four years, Human Rights Watch has been receiving increasingly frequent reports of “honor” killings or attempted “honor” killings in Chechnya. Most of these reports could not be verified through interviews with family members of the victims and direct witnesses due to their extreme fear of repercussions. However, it is important to note that in some of the cases reported to Human Rights Watch the perpetrators were identified as the women’s distant male relatives (second or third cousins) working for law enforcement agencies. A prominent rights activist told Human Rights Watch in September 2012 that up to 10 young women were victims of “honor” killings in Kadyrov’s native village, Tsenteroi, in the course of the past year alone.Several activists from Chechnya reported to Human Rights Watch that in most of the cases that came to their attention, women were killed not because of actually committing adultery or being unmarried and sexually available to men but rather because they had been photographed when holding hands with a man, or discovered as a recipient of susceptible SMS and phone calls, or simply based on rumors.

Two cases reported to Human Rights Watch in the summer of 2012 also suggest that the mere refusal of a woman to adhere to the prescribed dress code and wear a headscarf may trigger violence or even an “honor” killing. In one case, it emerged that a woman’s cousin who lives abroad but saw some photographs of her wearing a tight knee-length dress, and with her hair loose, hired men to kill her. Two unknown men attacked the woman in the center of Grozny late one evening and attempted to drag her into their car. Luckily, two of her acquaintances coincidentally showed up at the location and started screaming at the men and grabbing on to the victim, forcing the men to flee. The woman, who suffered multiple bruises as a result of the attack, was able to immediately flee Chechnya with the help of friends.

Is it any wonder that “honor” killings are becoming a phenomenon in the republic where the local leader openly and uncritically acknowledges these so-called honor killings as part of Chechen tradition and makes such remarks as:

A woman should know her place.… She should be [man’s] property. And the man is the owner. Here, if a woman does not behave properly, her husband, father, and brother are responsible. According to our tradition, if a woman fools around, her family members kill her… That’s how it happens, a brother kills his sister or a husband kills his wife.… As a president, I cannot allow for them to kill. So, let women not wear shorts.…

With Kadyrov making such statements and the Kremlin failing to intervene, the perpetrators can be certain of their impunity, which only inspires future crimes and leaves the women in Chechnya particularly vulnerable to lawless practices ranging fromhumiliation and harassment to violent attacks and even murder.

1See, for example, Natalya Nesterenko, “The female headscarf in Chechnya as an indicator of government capacity?” (Женский платок в Чечне как индикатор дееспособности власти?), DeutscheWelle, April7, 2006. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1963090,00.html; Natalya Estemirova, “Male revenge” (Мужской реванш), Novaya Gazeta, October 18, 2007, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2007/80/04.html.

2Natalya Estemirova, “Male revenge” (Мужской реванш), Novaya Gazeta, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2007/80/04.html.

3Memorial Human Rights Center “On the fight for the moral cleanliness of society in Chechnya” (О борьбе за морально-нравственную чистоту общества в Чеченской Республике), Memo.ru, February 21, 2008, http://www.memo.ru/2008/02/22/2202081.htm.

4Natalya Estemirova, “Male revenge” (Мужской реванш), Novaya Gazeta, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2007/80/04.html.

5The author of this report traveled to Chechnya every few months between 2003 and 2009 and witnessed this dynamic. See also Nadezhda Il’ina, “Natalya Estemirova: ‘It’s time to return many words to their original meanings’” (Наталья Эстемирова: «Пора вернуть многим словам их изначальный смысл»), Journalist 2, 2008, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2009/077/31.html; Pavel Nikulin, “Paintball on prospect Putin” (Пейнтбол на проспекте Путина), Kasparov.ru, September 13, 2010, http://www.kasparov.ru/material.php?id=4C8E285A92417.

6See, for example, Memorial Human Rights Center, “On the fight for the moral cleanliness of society in Chechnya” (О борьбе за морально-нравственную чистоту общества в Чеченской Республике), Memo.ru, February 21, 2008, http://www.memo.ru/2008/02/22/2202081.htm.

7Human Rights Watch interview with two staff members of the Chechen State University in 2010 (names and dates withheld).

8See, for example, Oleg Antonenko, “Chechnya: where does the Constitution end and Sharia law begin?” (Чечня: где кончается Конституция и начинается шариат?), BBCRussia, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/russia/newsid_7800000/7800125.stm.

9“Islamization of Chechnya: myth or reality?” (ИсламизацияЧечни: мифилиреальность?), IslamRF.ru, February 2, 2008, http://www.islamrf.ru/news/russia/rusopinions/1690/.

10See “Islamization of Chechnya: myth or reality?” (Исламизация Чечни: миф или реальность?), IslamRF.ru, http://www.islamrf.ru/news/russia/rusopinions/1690/.

11See, for example, “Chechen women, dressed in an “unseemly manner” not allowed to attend holiday festivities” (Чеченок, одетых «неподобающим образом», непустили напраздник), Rosbalt Kavkaz, September 21, 2010, http://www.rosbalt.ru/2010/09/21/773618.html; “In Chechnya, women with their heads uncovered are not permitted to attend festivities” (В Чечне женщин с непокрытыми головами не пустили на праздник), Caucasian Knot, September 21, 2010, http://chechnya.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/174489/.

12At this writing, the perpetrators in the killing of Estemirova have not been held to account. Natalia Estemirova was abducted outside her home in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, on July 15, 2009, and was found shot dead in the neighboring republic of Ingushetia later that day. The circumstances of Estemirova's murder, along with a pattern of threats against her, Memorial staff members, investigative journalists, and human rights defenders in Chechnya, point to possible official involvement in or acquiescence to her murder. It is not clear, however, which steps—if any—have been undertaken by the investigation to examine possible official involvement in this crime. See Human Rights Watch, “Russia: A Year Later, No Prosecution for Estemirova Murder,” July 8, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/08/russia-year-later-no-prosecution-estemirova-murder.

13See, for example, Natalya Estemirova, “Male revenge” (Мужской реванш), Novaya Gazeta, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2007/80/04.html; Nadezhda Il’ina, “Natalya Estemirova: ‘It’s time to return many words to their original meanings’” (Наталья Эстемирова: «Пора вернуть многим словам их изначальный смысл»), Journalist №2, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2009/077/31.html.

14 In February 2008, Natalia Estemirova was appointed to chair the then newly formed Grozny Human Rights Council under the mayor of Grozny.

15 Natalia Estemirova shared with Human Rights Watch the details of her meeting with Ramzan Kadyrov in a telephone interview in the evening of March 31, 2008 and then repeated the story in even greater detail in Moscow several days later. See also, for example, “Statement of the Representative of the Council of Memorial Human Rights Center O.P. Orlov regarding the legal claim of R.A. Kadyrov in the Tverskoi District Court of the City of Moscow regarding the defense of his honor, virtue, reputation, and compensation” (Заявление Председателя Совета Правозащитного центра «Мемориал» О.П.Орловаоб исковом заявлении Р.А.Кадырова в Тверской районный суд г. Москвы «О защите чести, достоинстве, деловой репутации, компенсации»), Memo.ru, September 10, 2009, http://www.memo.ru/2010/07/06/0607101.html; “Vice-Head of the MVD told four versions of Estemirova’s Murder” (Замглавы МВД назвал четыре версии убийства Эстемировой), Polit.ru, July 16, 2009, http://www.polit.ru/news/2009/07/16/versions.html; “Testimony of witness Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya” (Показания свидетеля Екатерины Сокирянской), Human Rights in Russia Internet Portal (Права Человека в России), September 25, 2009, http://www.hro.org/node/6467.

16 “Chechen Prosecutor's Office orders militia to investigate attacks on women without headscarves” (Прокуратура Чечни обязала милицию расследовать нападения на женщин без платков), Caucasian Knot, October 14, 2010, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/175525.

17Human Rights Watch interviews with Louiza X., Khadizhat N., Aminat Y., Malka B., and Zarema K. (not their real names), September 15-17, 2010, Grozny.

18 Human Rights Watch interviews with 31 female residents of Grozny (names withheld), September 15-17, 2010, Grozny.

19 Human Rights Watch interviews with 20 women (anonymous), including five representatives of women’s NGOs (names of organizations withheld for security reasons on request of the interviewees), September 15 to17, 2010, Grozny.

20 See, for example, as re-printed in Caucasian Knot –“Residents of Chechnya tell a Spanish newspaper of the “hunt” for women without headscarves” (Жительницы Чечни рассказали испанской газете об "охоте" на женщин без платков), Caucasian Knot, June 11, 2010, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/170045/; Elena Milashina, “Day of the Chechen woman” (День Чеченской Женщины), Novaya Gazeta, September 22, 2010, http://www.novayagazeta.ru/data/2010/105/08.html.

21“Kadyrov issues threats to Memorial” (Рамзан Кадыров угрожает «Мемориалу»), Memorial, July 8, 2010, http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/caucas1/index.htm.

22Human Rights Watch interviews with five representatives of women’s NGOs (names of organizations withheld for security reasons Copy of the brochure on file with Human Rights Watch.on request of the interviewees), September 15-17, 2010, Grozny.

23Copy of the brochure on file with Human Rights Watch.

24Copy of the brochure on file with Human Rights Watch.

25Human Rights Watch interviews with 31 female and four male residents of Grozny (names withheld), September 15-17, 2010, Grozny.

26 Human Rights Watch interview with two representatives of the Joint Mobile Group of Russian Human Rights Organizations deployed in Chechnya who witnessed the incident during the last week of August (names withheld), September 15, 2010, Grozny.

27 Human Rights Watch interview with Kheda Z. (not her real name), September 16, 2010, Grozny.

28Human Rights Watch interviews with 31 female residents of Grozny (names withheld), September 15-17, 2010, Grozny.

29 Human Rights Watch interview with Malika T. (not her real name), September 17, Grozny.

30Anna Nemtsova, ”I do not want independence,” Newsweek, October 24, 2010,

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/24/ramzan-kadyrov-talks-about-chechnya-s-future.html.

31Human Rights Watch World Report 2012, Russia Chapter, http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-russia.

32 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a female resident of Grozny working in the House of Print and a representative of a local news agency (names withheld), October 10, 2010.

33Suryana Asueva, “Chechen school kids will be dressed according to Sharia law (Чеченских школьников оденут «по шариату»),” BBC, May 25, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/russia/2012/05/120524_chechen_school_sharia.shtml.

34Ibid.

35Anastasia Kirilenko, “Chechnya is curious about Bolotnaya Square” (Чечня интересуется Болотной), Svobodanews.Ru, July 4, 2012, http://www.svobodanews.ru/content/article/24634560.html.

36“Action ‘Sister, put on a headscarf’ took place in Grozny” (В Грозном состоялась акция «Сестра, надень платок»), Grozny-Inform, August 17, 2012, http://www.grozny-inform.ru/main.mhtml?Part=11&PubID=35825.

37Oleg Antonenko, “Chechnya: where does the Constitution end and Sharia law begin?” (Чечня: где кончается Конституция и начинается шариат?), BBCRussia, December26, 2009,http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/russian/russia/newsid_7800000/7800125.stm.

38See, for example, “The reason for the close-range shooting of six Chechen women may have been vigilantism,” (Причиной расстрела в упор шести чеченок мог быть самосуд), Postimees, November 27, 2008, http://rus.postimees.ee/281108/glavnaja/za_rubezhom/44765.php.

39Human Rights Watch telephone interview with XX (name withheld), September 9, 2012. Also see: Liana Nalbandyan, “Lynch law or “honor killing Caucasus-style” (Самосуд или «убийство чести» по-кавказски), Sobesednik, January 20, 2012,http://sobesednik.ru/scandals/samosud-i-ubiistvo-chesti-po-kavkazski.

40Human Rights Watch Skype interviews with NN and YY (names withheld), June 20, 2012.

41Human Rights Watch interview with ZZ (name withheld), Moscow, July 3, 2012.

42Interview with Ramzan Kadyrov, Komsomolskaya Pravda, September 24, 2008, http://www.kp.ru/daily/24169/380743/.