07MOSCOW3997, P-1 REFERRAL: DIGAEVA, STELLA ARBIEVNA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3997 2007-08-15 11:38 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3997 2271138
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 151138Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2938

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003997 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2017 
TAGS: PREF PHUM RS
SUBJECT: P-1 REFERRAL: DIGAEVA, STELLA ARBIEVNA 
 
 
Classified By: Charge Daniel A. Russell.  Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  Post has identified Russian citizen Stella 
Digaeva as a candidate for resettlement in the United States 
as a Priority One referral.  Digaeva is in danger of 
retaliation by Chechen security forces over criticism of 
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov through the U.S.-based 
Amina.com website her son Albert Digaev operates.  Digaeva 
told us that since November 2006, security officers have been 
searching for her throughout Chechnya, visiting her former 
apartment and her relatives, seeking information on her 
whereabouts.  She fled to Moscow in May, but believes that 
she is not safe in Russia given the intensity of the efforts 
to find her.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (C) Digaeva said that she has been threatened repeatedly 
since May 2005 over the activities of her son Albert and his 
website Amina.com.  Digaev, who has received asylum in the 
U.S. and not lived in Chechnya since 1994, has created Amina 
as a forum for Chechens to gather on line and debate 
Chechnya's recent history and its current situation.  Digaev 
has also written critically about Ramzan Kadyrov, accusing 
him of violating human rights and of subverting Chechen 
culture and traditions. 
 
3.  (C) Digaeva said that she has received various warnings 
and threats about her son's activities, but these were 
anonymous and indirect.  Since November 2006, however, these 
threats have become more serious and direct.  In January, 
armed men came to the Grozny apartment where she was 
registered, but not living, demanding to know where she was. 
In April, a man and a woman in civilian clothes came to the 
apartment again asking about her and about Albert, asking 
where he lived and his phone number.  Digaeva's cousin who 
lived in the apartment avoided giving them any information. 
 
4.  (C) At about the same time, Digaeva's cousin in the 
village of Tolstoy-Yurt was visited several times by armed 
men in camouflage uniforms seeking Digaeva.  Another relative 
of hers, a colonel in the Chechen Ministry of Internal 
Affairs, passed information to her that Kadyrov had ordered 
that she and any other relatives of Digaev's be found. 
 
5.  (C) In May, armed men arrived at the apartment where 
Digaeva lived in Grozny.  She was not there, but her relative 
who owned the apartment was questioned about calls and text 
messages from the United States to a mobile phone (Digaeva's) 
listed at that address.  Digaeva said that the messages had 
come from Albert and were warnings to leave Chechnya because 
he had also received information that Kadyrov had ordered his 
relatives to be arrested in retaliation for his criticism. 
At about this same time, Albert had received death threats 
that he believed were serious enough that he reported them to 
the FBI, according to Digaeva and a copy of a statement he 
gave to FBI agents. 
 
6.  (C) On May 11, Digaeva fled Chechnya and came to Moscow, 
where she is temporarily living with a friend.  She does not 
believe she is safe, however.  Digaeva said that all her 
immediate family has fled Russia, and that she could not be 
safe anywhere in Russia if her whereabouts became known to 
Chechen security forces. 
 
RECOMMENDATION 
-------------- 
 
7.  (C) Memorial and other human rights organizations have 
reported repeatedly on Chechen security forces taking 
relatives of their targets hostage in order to pressure them 
to surrender.  Digaeva said she believes she would be taken 
in order to force Albert to close down his website. We find 
her claim credible, in light of the specific information she 
provided about the persistent efforts security forces are 
making to find her and critical articles about Kadyrov that 
have been posted on Amina.com.  We request Department to 
accept this referral. 
 
8.  (U) Biographic information is as follows: 
 
Name: Digaeva, Stella Arbievna 
 
DPOB: 02 May 1954, Kazakhstan 
 
Digaeva has a valid Russian international passport. 
RUSSELL

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