11 November 2016, Friday

The Perovo District Court in Moscow rejected an application from the agencies responsible for children’s guardianship, asking the court to deprive Iman Khadzhimuradova of her parental rights. The applicant’s demand was based primarily on the fact that Khadzhimuradova had not lived with the children for 13 years and seldom had contact with them.    

Iman Khadzhimuradova married Arbi Khadhzimuradov in 1992. In 2003, following a dispute between the couple, Khadzhimuradov forced his wife to leave the house, despite the fact that she was expecting her fifth child. She was obliged to return to Chechnya, leaving the four children with her husband. Later, Arbi Khadzhimuradov unilaterally dissolved the marriage, but Iman Khadzhimuradova discovered this fact only in 2016. 

“From the moment my marriage with Arbi Khadzhimuradov effectively ended, I had no way of contacting my children. I could see them only on rare occasions and in secret, and the children told me during those meetings that they were not allowed to see me, and if they did, they would be forced to leave the school where I came to see them”, Khadzhimuradova said. “She had living with her only the youngest child, who was born in Chechnya.

For nearly 13 years, Arbi Khadzhimuradov and his relatives did all they could to prevent the children from seeing their mother, and give her a negative image. After Khadzhimuradov’s death, his relatives turned to the courts in an attempt to deprive Iman Khadzhimuradova of her parental rights.

“In November 2015, the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in its comments on a report by the Russian Federation, noted that the idea in the North Caucasus that children ‘belong’ to the father means in practice that after divorce, women often lose all contact with their children”, said lawyer with Russian Justice Initiative Bike Gyulmagomedova. “Iman Khadzhimuradova’s case is thus not an exception but is a result of trends that Russia is supposed to combat. As yet, the situation has not changed, and after her divorce, Iman Khadzhimuradova was prevented from having any involvement in bringing up her children. This lack of contact with the children was the grounds the applicant then used to attempt to have Iman deprived of her parental rights. The Perovo District Court rejected the applicant’s demand”.

The court took into account the evidence presented by lawyers from Russian Justice Initiative, showing that Khadzhimuradova had not avoided her parental responsibilities, wanted to take part in the children’s lives, and, most importantly, was fighting for her parental rights.

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