Exiled to Chechnya: The Horrific Saga of One Woman’s Journey

Caucausus Mountains
Wikimedia Commons

For much of her life, Devi Asmadiredja was a housewife in Germany – but then her husband told her to pack her bags and leave the country. She ended up 3,000km (2,000 miles) away living in a remote mountain hut among the Chechens of Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge.

Few tourists visit the gorge, a notoriously insular region with a reputation for drug and arms smuggling, and radical Islam – one of the top leaders of Islamic State (IS), Abu Omar al-Shishani, hails from here.

But this remote part of the Caucasus Mountains is where Devi Asmadiredja, a German woman of Indonesian descent, found refuge.

Four years ago, she was living in Germany with her husband and three children. But in early 2011 he abruptly informed her that he no longer loved her, and told her to leave their home. He ordered her to go to Pankisi to learn Chechen, the language of his forefathers.

“He knew I was good at languages, he thought I could come back and teach him,” she says.

He bought her a plane ticket and gave her enough money for food. “I had never travelled before. For me it was interesting and a chance to run away from him,” she says. Leaving behind her three children – then five, eight, and 12 – was harder. “It was very difficult. I’d never slept a single night without them,” she says. But she didn’t feel she had a choice.

Read the full story at BBC.