Russian Security Officer Interrogates Activist, Calls Leading HumanRights Group a "Jewish Organization"

(December 15, 2008)

Security officials in Moscow reportedly interrogated an activist working for one of Russia's leading human rights organizations, which one referred to erroneously and pejoratively as a "Jewish organization," according to a report today issued by the "Memorial" NGO. According to the report, on December 12, Bakhrom Khamroev, an ethnic Uzbek activist who works for "Memorial" in Moscow, was detained. Perhaps coincidentally, Mr. Khamroev had just given an interview with a Dutch reporter about the persecution of Muslims in Russia. Two security officers, at least one of whom was from the FSB, detained him and an acquaintance from Dagestan and took them to a police station. An FSB officer there in plain clothes then interrogated him, calling "Memorial" a "Jewish organization" and threatening Mr. Khamroev that if he reported his detention, "no Jews will be able to help you" and that security officials will stuff him in the trunk of a car and take him off somewhere, presumably to be killed. The officer then started defaming Tajiks and Uzbeks, accusing them of committing 90% of the crimes in Moscow, and opining that too many "guys with beards" (a reference to devout Muslims) were in Russia. These Muslims, the officer reportedly said, look loyal on the outside, but can set a terrorist bomb at any point. A few hours later, Mr. Khamroev and his acquaintance were released.

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Copyright 2007 by UCSJ: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union.