Police in Armenia have detained a young Russian woman fleeing domestic violence after her family filed complaints to local authorities, Russian media reported Wednesday, citing the human rights group Marem.
According to the independent news website Holod, Fatima Zurabova, 21, fled her home earlier this month in the republic of Ingushetia, a Muslim-majority region in Russia’s North Caucasus.
Marem said Zurabova’s brother and other family members had subjected her to beatings since she was 15 “for insufficient religiosity and suspicions that at some point she might behave inappropriately for Ingush society.”
Zurabova’s uncle Yusup Zurabov was said to have traveled to Armenia, where he filed a missing person report with the local police, who later found her in the town of Ashtarak.
She was then taken to a detention center in Yerevan and locked inside the same room with her uncle, where she was pressured to return to Ingushetia.
Holod said Zurabova’s uncle also threatened to “deal with” activists who helped her flee Ingushetia.
Armenian police said they were unable to assist Zurabova and advised her to seek refugee status in order to be placed in a refugee shelter, Holod reported.
Zurabova’s detention is at least the third incident in the past month involving a Russian national being detained by authorities in countries neighboring or closeby to Russia.
In the two previous cases, activists were arrested in the South Caucasus nation of Georgia and Central Asia’s Kyrgyzstan, after which they were taken to detention centers in Russia.
Russian human rights groups have for years called attention to the issue of domestic abuse against women in the conservative North Caucasus republics of Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan.