Russische Föderation: Asiyat Murtazalieva

For Asiyat Murtazalieva, journalism is a way to help people.

— Asiyat Murtazalieva

Asiyat Murtazalieva (born 1955) earned a degree in Philology. She has worked as a journalist in many Chechen and Moscow newspapers. Asiyat launched the creation of the Chechen cultural clubs Harmony and Treasure of the Nation to contribute to healing the wounds of the war. She works at the Institute of Human Culture; she is also coordinator of the all-Russian contest Personality of 20th Century Russian History. Her recent cooperation with the Russian NGO Memorial focuses on uncovering violations of human rights in Chechnya and war crimes perpetrated against civilians.

For Asiyat Murtazalieva, journalism is a way to help people. Once, Asiyat wrote a revealing article in the newspaper ‘Respublika’ about the local influential leader of a criminal group. When the article was published, he threatened to sue her, knowing that he could easily bribe the local judges. The directors of the newspaper decided to back down and to publish an apology. But Asiyat did not allow the apology to be published and insisted that the matter be brought to court, hoping for a fair trial despite everything else. The trial lasted for almost a year. The judges at the court of first instance, bribed by the plaintiff, sided with the latter and found Asiyat guilty. But rather than give up, she filed an appeal against the verdict with the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic. The result was the same. Although her colleagues advised her to resign herself to this outcome, her search for justice took her to Moscow, as she understood that the local judicial system was corrupt to the core. The criminal leader, sensing the woman's unbending spirit, decided to stop all the legal proceedings. When the Russian-Chechen war began (1994), the subject of war crimes against innocent civilians became vitally important to Asiyat's work. She wrote about the victims of carpet bombings, about the inhuman tortures, and executions without trial. The dream of this journalist is to re-launch her cultural club's publication ‘Harmony.’ The magazine used to come out before the Russian-Chechen war, but its publication was stopped because of the armed conflict. Asiyat hopes that the magazine, dedicated to the cultural values of the Chechen people, will promote a better understanding of the Chechen problem in Russia which, in turn, could start healing the wounds of the war.