Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Self-Immolation

I just translated the following report for Prague Watchdog:

Ukrainian woman attempts self-immolation in protest at expulsion of her Chechen husband

By Aslanbek Dadayev

KIEV – A Ukrainian woman made an attempt at self-immolation in Kiev on Tuesday. Natalya Tretyak, a 48-year-old resident of Poltava Oblast, poured petrol over herself and set light to it in front of the Presidential administration building, in protest at the authorities’ decision to expel her Chechen husband Ruslan Bagayev from the country.

The building’s guards were able to douse the flames. Natalya Tretyak was taken to hospital with light burns. The doctors assess her condition as satisfactory.

The story of her husband, Ruslan Bagayev, began 11 years ago, when he left Chechnya during the First Chechen War. Since then, the refugee has not been able to acquire a residence permit that would enable him to live legally in Ukraine. Not even his marriage to a Ukrainian woman has helped him to remain in the country on a generally accepted basis. A few years ago he was even deported from the country by the Ukrainian authorities, and managed to return only after persistent efforts by his wife.

Last week a court issued a judgement on Ruslan Bagayev’s deportation to Russia and it was this that impelled his wife to such a radical step.

Aslanbek Dadayev is a Kiev correspondent of Radio Svoboda and irregular contributor to Prague Watchdog.
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