On January 14, 2020, German police detained six Chechens in various parts of the country. The detentions were carried out after searches in the apartments and were accompanied by the disproportionately harsh actions by law enforcement officers, such as the use of explosive technology and, according to the detainees, by the shooting. The above actions were carried out in the presence of children, who subsequently needed an assistance of a psychotherapist. Police actions were covered by the representatives of the German press, who were present at the place of detention.

All detainees were charged with preparing an armed attack on the Berlin synagogue. Subsequently, all the detainees were released due to the lack of evidence.

In connection with the detention of our compatriots in Germany on January 14 this year, VAYFOND is authorized to state the following.

Based on the facts that have become available, we believe that the charges brought against our compatriots by the German authorities are unfounded, the evidence looks superficial and, possibly even fabricated, and the detentions carried out by the police of the Federal Republic of Germany were unlawful and were aimed not at preventing certain acts of extremist activity, but at creating visibility of a fight against extremism.

The actions of the German police primarily damaged the reputation of the public security system of this state, a number of representatives of which, including the police officers, prefer to blow the doors to civilian apartments, to point guns at young children and use the press for public support of their wittingly illegal actions.

The text of suspicions put forward against the six detainees became accessible for us today. This document raises a number of questions of a completely non-legal nature.

Based on it, the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany knew about the alleged preparation of the attack on the Berlin synagogue even before December 3, 2019, but did not take any measures. The German authorities have no other evidence of the preparation of the attack on the synagogue, except for the video shooting of the street near the synagogue made by Z.B. from the car. The facts brought to the court concerning the alleged possession of firearms and other weapons by the detainees, as well as photographs with the theme “referring” to the Islamic state, are mere assumptions, partially based on speculation. Otherwise, why the German police did not seize this weapon, did not indicate what exactly in the photos found “refers” to ISIS and who was an expert in this field. It is also unclear how the presence of the photos may indicate an intention to carry out an attack on the synagogue.

Apart from this, there is a quite surprising justification for the need to conduct searches taken from a court decision signed by Judge Zwelfer-Martin of the District Court of Berlin – Tiergarten: “Operational actions revealed that the accused Z.B. together with the accused D.B. and T. D. drove by car on 5.11.2019 from Berlin to a forest area near Leiman in the Rhineland-Palatinate land and stayed in this sparsely populated place for an hour and a half, and it is known that there are former bunkers of the American troops and this place itself is located not far from the unguarded German-French border. Therefore, there are particular grounds to believe that the defendants were preparing an attack on the Jewish synagogue in Berlin in order to kill or injure community members or tourists”. Such a “deep” analysis of the facts looks quite strange to the special services of one of the leading countries of the European Union, which has a significant technical arsenal for operational work. Even more surprising is the fact that these data were accepted by the court as noteworthy.

We do not know exactly who and for what reason initiated the monitoring of Z.B., and who interpreted the facts of his movements across Germany against him, and who gave permission for the police to use explosives and firearms in the presence of minors with the involvement of the press, but the indicated actions seem unacceptable in a democratic state. In this regard, our organization engaged attorneys, lawyers, experts and human rights defenders to investigate independently all the circumstances surrounding the arrests on January 14. We will regularly inform the public about the progress of this investigation on the VAYFOND website.

However, the greatest danger is not only the fact of arbitrariness in relation to Chechens. Over the long years of the struggle for the independence and against the genocide of our people, we regularly encounter the situation when the Chechen people are being collectively accused in every possible way of criminal behaviour exclusively on a basis of nationality. At first, the authorities of the Russian Federation stubbornly supported and spread the myth of a certain “Chechen mafia”, then the mythology about the “Chechen Islamists” began to form from the same sources. Sometimes these myths take hold of the collective consciousness so much that we become witnesses when even judges in the courts of a number of countries begin to be actively interested in a certain “high percentage” of criminalized persons among the Chechen people. The fact that the German police put forward suspicions against exclusively Chechens is just another manifestation of the deep influence of Russian propaganda, with which we fight and will keep on fighting constantly.

We consider it important to note that currently in European society there is a deliberately biased negative attitude towards Muslims, when a Muslim man with a beard and a Muslim woman with a headscarf risk being accused of some kind of “Islamic extremism” only because of their religion, appearance and clothes. This image of the “Islamists” has been imposed for many years, and it is not possible to interpret this fact as something else than a manifestation of xenophobia. This time, representatives of our people have been charged with preparing an attack on the synagogue.

Our people had to endure a lot of trouble and hardship, deportations, mass executions, bombings, torture and shootings.

A significant part of our people cannot live in their native land, and those who continue to stay in Chechnya face a daily risk of being illegally detained, tortured, or subjected to the extrajudicial execution by the Kadyrov’s so-called police officers. Z.B. himself was a victim of unlawful persecution, was tortured and beaten. His pregnant wife was also subjected to torture and was beaten by the Kadyrov’s police.

However, no dangers, adversities, threats and torture will allow our people to stoop to that level of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, anti-Semites are also found among Chechens, as well as among representatives of any nation. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Chechens have respect for all the peoples of the world, and are not dividing people by color, nationality or religion. We remember the tragic events that have accompanied the history of the Jewish people for millennia in Spain, Russia, Germany and other countries. In many ways, for us, the Jewish people are an example of steadfastness, fortitude and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. And today, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, paying tribute to the innocent victims of the Holocaust, we want to express our extreme indignation at the fact that someone is interested in quarreling the Chechen and Jewish peoples, taking out a shameful card of anti-Semitic enmity from dusty bags and falsely accusing Chechens of preparing an attack on the synagogue.

To the best of our abilities and capabilities, we will stop such attempts, demanding in this case the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany not only to stop the illegal criminal prosecution of our compatriots and apologize to them and their families, but also to investigate and prosecute those who attempted fueling xenophobia and inciting ethnic hatred.

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