For 10 years we were held as slaves in the basement of a grocery store in Moscow. Help us bring criminal charges against the owners of the store!
I came to Moscow when I was 16 years old. I wanted to earn some money here to send something back to my family in Uzbekistan. Unfortunately, when I arrived in Moscow I met Saken Muzdibaev and Zhansulu Istanbekova from Kazakhstan, who offered me a job at their store.
Now I'm 26 years old.
For ten years I was kept as a slave in the basement of a grocery store called "Produkti" in Moscow. 12 other people were slaves as well, 3 kids were kept there too. We were forced to work up to 20 hours a day, they beat us, broke our fingers with a wrench and did not allow us to go out. In the basement I gave birth to my daughter, but my captors took her away from me and told me later that she had fallen out of a window.
On October 30th 2012, a group of young activists together with journalists rushed into the store's basement and started to film everything they saw. That day they freed 11 people including myself. Three more children and one woman were taken away by the slavers to an unknown direction - they have still not been found.
I thought that my decade of slavery in Moscow was over for me, but I was wrong, it wasn't the end.
That day we waited for 9 hours to file a complaint with the police investigator. When we were finally questioned, the interrogators forced us to write a testimony dictated to us by a policeman.
We really hoped that Saken Muzdibaev and Zhansulu Istanbekova would be prosecuted based on articles "unlawful imprisonment of two and more persons" and a number of other articles of the Russian Criminal Code (the full list of articles is listed in the petition text below).
Three times the Investigative Committee of Preobrazhensky district appointed the date of joined interrogations with us and the owners of the store. But Muzdibaev and Istanbekova never showed up for any of them. And, for some reason, the police did not bring the owners of the store to the interrogations by force. On 8th of November, when four of us came to confrontation to the committee for the third time, the policemen from district police department Galianovo came by too with the intention not to help us, but instead to deliver us to district department to deport us from Russia.
A few times when we were slaves we had managed to escape and had run to the Galianovo police department to ask for help - but instead of helping us the police had returned us to the shop owners, and the basement.
On 14 of November Prosecutor's Office of Preobrazhensky district rejected the decision to open a criminal case against slavers. Their explanation? Not enough grounds to open an investigation.
That's why we decided to start this campaign with the appeal to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, demanding they prosecute Saken Muzdibaev and Zhansulu Istanbekova, the owners of the grocery store "Produkti" at Novosibirskaya street in Moscow.
I can't believe that after suffering 10 years of slavery and torture these people will not be punished. How many more people will they enslave just like us in the future?
Please help us to restore justice and call for the prosecution of our captors.
Leila Ahkirova, Bakkia Kasimova
More info http://www.kupiraba.ru/ (Russian only)
At this moment committee "Сivic Assistance" helps the freed slaves with restorations of their papers, with the place to live and lawsuits. Oleg Melnikov, the youth movement "Alternativa", Russian Transhumanist Movement and Mitya Aleshcovsky coordinate these measures and help searching for abducted children.
Dear all, we really need your help! We are also running out of money to accomodate and provide food to the rescued victims. If you can, here how you can donate:
Webmoney wallet: R305103454198
Oleg Melnikov, coordinator of the rescue group, Moscow: +7(964)573-7207
Leila Ashirova, Bakia Kasimova started this petition with a single signature, and now has 20,570 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.