Islam, Chechnya and the War

Event information
Venue:FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus

Khassan Baiev was born in Alkhan Kala, a suburb of the Chechen capital Grozny, in 1963. He attended Krasnoyarsk Medical Institute in Siberia. Graduating in 1985 and returning to Chechnya in 1988, Baiev became a successful reconstructive surgeon, particularly in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse. But when Russia invaded Chechnya a few years later, Baiev gave up his lucrative practice to perform trauma surgery. As the wars raged on, he was persecuted as a criminal by both sides. When he treated Chechen fighters, the Russians accused him of being a traitor. When he treated Russian soldiers, factions of Chechen extremists accused him of the same. Determined to uphold the Hippocratic Oath, Baiev operated on all in need, from Russian soldiers to Chechen fighters. During both wars, Baiev treated thousands of civilians. Eventually, after being threatened by all sides of the conflict, the Russians issued orders for Baiev's arrest because he saved the life of Shamil Basayev, one of the Kremlin's most wanted field commanders. Realizing that Baiev was a man wanted by both sides, the humanitarian group, Physicians for Human Rights, helped him seek political asylum in the United States. In the past several years, Dr. Baiev has become an outspoken advocate for human rights and has been honored by Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International and others. Last year, despite the ongoing simmering conflict, he returned to Chechnya to operate on the most vulnerable victims of the war—children with severe injuries. After he spent several months in the region, he is coming to FIU to share his experience and talk about the humanitarian situation there.