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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: February 2, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Chechens Arrested in France After Charlie Hebdo Bombing Released, Following Police Sweep of Chechen Communities in Europe
5 years
Chechen Brig. Gen. Isa Munayev Killed in Battle Fighting for Ukraine at Debaltsevo
Novaya Gazeta Loses Court Challenge to Russian State Censor

Remember the five Chechens rounded up after the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher deli in Paris, in which 17 people were killed?

As we reported two weeks ago, 5 Chechens in Paris, 4 immigrants and one of whom had Austrian citizenship, were arrested after the bombings. For some reason, the story was deleted from Le Monde, and then fell off the pages of other newspapers. Some sources said that explosives were found among the suspects. Reuters reported that while the Chechens arrested weren't related to terrorism, they were suspected of other crimes.

But eventually it turned out that all the Chechens in France were released -- along with others caught up in a sweep through the Chechen communities in other European countries.

Mairbek Vatchagaev, the analyst on the North Caucasus for the Jamestown Foundation has the story. He interviewed the Chechens on January 10 and 11:

This author managed to speak to 8 of the 12 detained Chechens, who indicated that after they were arrested and had all their money, telephones and computers confiscated, they were held for nearly two days at an unidentified site near Paris. The security services tried to extract from them confessions of ties with the Chechen fighters in Syria. Videos watched on YouTube and excerpts from telephone conversations were put forward as proof of the detained individuals’ connections to the jihadists in Syria.

Prior to meeting these people in person, this author thought they would be Salafists but, as it turned out, that assumption turned out to be completely wrong. A mother of three boys who was detained along with her sons was still in shock after being accused of having a photograph of a slain Syrian child in her home. One of the detainees, who is fluent in French, managed to read the accusation against them, which stated that they were being accused of organizing a terrorist cell. A well-known Chechen journalist from the first Chechen-Russian war was also among those detained. She was one of the handful Chechens who supported the “Je suis Charlie” action. All the detained Chechens were eventually released but warned they would be summoned again to provide additional information

Read more at Chechens in Europe Subjected to Ethnic Profiling After Paris Attacks

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick