When Fatima Tekayeva heard that her son was about to be returned to Russia from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she felt an aching fear.Read it all.
Don't do it, she begged anyone who would listen. It's bad there, yes. It's worse here. Please don't send my son home.
All the same, the scenario unfolded like a scripted nightmare. Rasul Kudayev was put on a plane back to Russia. Soon he was released. He came home to the Caucasus region nothing like the broad-shouldered wrestling champion who had gone off to study Islam with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He could barely walk unaided. His eyes were yellow from hepatitis, his heart fluttered, his head throbbed, family members said. Kudayev would sit up in the kitchen all night, telling his brother how guards at Guantanamo forced him to take medicine that made him sick and left him alternately to freeze and suffocate by opening and closing the ventilation system in a cramped isolation cell. By morning, his stories spent, he would fall asleep.
It ended as Tekayeva feared it would.
On Oct. 23, a truckload of soldiers showed up outside the family's small house and seized Kudayev, accusing him of having participated in an attack by Islamic militants on police and government targets in Nalchik 10 days earlier. Tekayeva threw her body in front of her son's thin frame.
"Handcuffs, what handcuffs?" she wailed. "He's already had enough handcuffs for a lifetime!" But he disappeared into the feared Department 6 organized crime unit of the Kabardino-Balkaria police.