CHECHEN POLITICAL REFUGEE ARBI ZARMAEV WILL BE MURDERED
The Belgian minister of justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck (Christian Democrats), signed on March 8th 2011, the decision to oblige the Chechen political refugee Arbi Zarmaev to leave the country and to extradite him to the Chechen authorities.
With some 40 Chechens and some representatives of human rights movements, we agreed to meet on March 21, 2011 before the European Parliament in Brussels and to protest against this expulsion and extradition. When I met the group (there was no action at that moment), an undercover policeman asked my identity card. I refused. Another undercover policeman and a policeman in uniform asked again my identity card. I again refused and said I had the right to move and to meet other citizens. I went with the Chechens to a little grass lawn with a beautiful fountain and I unfolded with the help of one of the Chechens, my banner 'Free Arbi - alive'. Then I asked the Chechens to come on the lawn so that there could be taken a group photo. Some undercovers and policemen in uniform prevented it. After a short time we were completely surrounded by a police cordon of 5 undercovers en 20 policemen in uniform. They asked our identity cards and no one of us was allowed to leave the circle of policemen. A policeman threatened to lock up me for 12 hours if I didn't give my identity card to him. One of the policemen pulled the banner out of my hands and destroyed it. After waiting a half hour we got our ID cards back and we were obliged to leave. A police officer told me that I was right by stating that the lawn was not owned by the European Parliament but that we had to ask permission to protest.
Arbi Zarmaev, the Chechen political refugee, is already 21 months locked up in the prison of Bruges. He was accused to have done his application to stay in Belgium under a 'false name'. He was also accused 'theft'. But these allegations seem to be incorrect. Arbi currently weighs just 50 kilograms (about 100 pounds). He has severe injuries in the face, showing that he is beaten. His family fears for his life. If he is extradited to Chechnya as former commander of the Chechen army, he will certainly be tortured and murdered. Arbi's wife and three children (2 years, 5 years, 10 years) are currently living in Belgium and fear that he will die.
Jan Boeykens, president of NGO Werkgroep Morkhoven