Russia stunned by story of 7-year-old girl ‘tortured’ for months by aunt
Even doctors couldn’t hold back tears after a seven-year-old girl with countless bruises, burns and bites all over her body, was delivered to them. The child had been allegedly tortured for months by her own aunt.
Footage from a medical examination at a hospital in the southern Republic of Ingushetia has shocked Russia after being uploaded online earlier this week. “This is a phlycten [internal abscess]; look, this is a bite and those are scars – old and new ones. This hand is cold, it could be amputated,” one of the doctors says in the clip. “It’s like a horror movie,” his colleague added off-screen, commenting on the terrible state of their young patient.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
Aisha was brought to hospital by her aunt, who claimed that the child was injured after falling into a cesspit a week before that. She also explained that the girl had also sustained burns earlier on, from accidentally sitting on a hot pot cooking soup.
The woman only sought medical help after it became clear that her niece Aisha couldn’t move her arms on her own anymore. The improvised bandages she’d put on the child’s hands only worsened her condition, causing vascular occlusion and putting the child’s left hand at risk of amputation. The girl was swiftly sent for surgery after further tests showed that her left arm was broken and gangrene had developed in the right one.
Police didn’t believe the aunt’s explanations and detained her on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm to a minor. The 35-year-old denied any wrongdoing, insisting that it was all an accident. The court later ruled that she be placed in custody for two months, pending an investigation. Her own two sons, who didn’t manifest any signs of abuse, were also taken into protective custody.
The gruesome details of what is, on the face of it, child abuse, have shocked not only the urban residence and the town the family lived in, but also the whole country.
The media discovered that the woman had already served time for causing grievous bodily harm in the past. She was also raising her niece Aisha without any of the proper paperwork. The girl’s father had been granted custody over the child after a divorce, but had left her with his sister while he traveled for work.
Questions are now being asked how child welfare services could have missed the case. Neighbors told RT that they never heard any screams or other alarming noises coming from the house of Aisha’s aunt. Many added that they never knew a girl was living there, as they’d only seen the boys outside.
The surgery on Aisha went on for three hours and doctors remained hopeful that they could save her arm. Local bloggers who visited her in her ward, said that the girl was feeling happy at the hospital despite her poor state. She clearly wasn’t used to being cared-about, as doctors and nurses brought her chocolate and ice cream.
Ingushetia’s child ombudswoman, Zarema Chakhieva, described Aisha as “the kindest child,” who tries to answer positively to all questions. Chakhieva told RT that the girl sometimes remembers the torture, but also says that she still loves her aunt.
On Friday, the girl was flown to Moscow to the clinic of Russia’s top child surgeon, Leonid Roshal. There, a detailed check revealed traces of old rib fractures and injuries to the spine, but Roshal said that Aisha wouldn’t require any new operations.
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Russia’s human rights ombudswoman, Tatyana Moskalkova, has called what happened to Aisha a “flagrant” case of domestic violence and vowed to closely monitor the girl’s case. She also urged to introduce a federal law tackling abuse in the family.
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