Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s Chechnya province, stated on Monday that he was pleased of his teenage son Adam for beating up a prisoner convicted of burning the Koran.
Kadyrov made the remarks on Telegram, along with a video of a young man in khaki garb beating and kicking another man cowering in a chair before grappling him to the ground and smacking him on the head.
The Chechen commander, who portrays himself as a fierce friend of President Vladimir Putin, said he was releasing the footage to dispel any questions about the event, which was initially reported last month.
“He beat him, and he did the right thing,” Kadyrov said.
“Without exaggeration, yes, I am proud of Adam’s action,” he said, adding that he respected the boy for acquiring “adult ideals of honour, dignity and defence of his religion.”
The prisoner, Nikita Zhuravel, had complained about the attack to Russia’s human rights ombudswoman, who said last month she had referred the issue to her counterpart in Chechnya.
Kadyrov, 46, has ruled Chechnya with an iron hand since becoming president in 2007, following in the footsteps of his father Akhmat who was killed in a bomb blast in 2004. He has enjoyed generous funding from Putin to rebuild the mainly Muslim region which suffered devastation in two wars following the collapse of the Soviet Union when it tried to break away from Moscow’s control.
Kadyrov has been giving increasing publicity to his three teenage sons, whom he said last year he was sending off to fight for Russia in the Ukraine war. The extent of their actual involvement in any combat action is not clear.
The eldest, Akhmat, was pictured with Putin in the Kremlin in March, fuelling rumours he was being groomed as Kadyrov’s successor.
Kadyrov’s health has been the subject of intense speculation, with rumours swirling this month that he was dead or in a coma. Last week he published a post on Telegram saying that he was fine, and that his reason for travelling to a Moscow hospital was to visit the bedside of a sick uncle.