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Chechen Couple to Remain in Finland

Hasizhat Gatajeva, also known as the Angel of Grozny, and her husband Malik Gatajev are to be allowed to remain in Finland. Helsinki District Court decided on Monday that the couple would not be extradited to Lithuania.

Hadizhat Gatajeva
Image: YLE

The two were detained on the basis of a European arrest warrant earlier this month. They have applied for asylum in Finland.

The court found that the two cannot be sent to Lithuania because their asylum applications are still being processed. They are to remain imprisoned to wait a final decision on the case.

Humanitarians or Child Abusers?

The Gatajevs have been convicted on crimes including abusing foster children under their care. The two already served their original sentences, but the basis of the warrant against them was an additional sentence of a year and a half in a higher court.

A number of civic organisations allege that the sentences against the two are politically motivated.

The Gatajevs have kept orphanages in the Chechen capital Grozny, and later in Lithuania. Their story has been documented in the film Three Rooms of Melancholia by Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo.

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