Kommersant: Aslan Maskhadov is Identified
Kommersant No 57 (No 3141) 01.04.2005
Aslan Maskhadov is Identified
// And sent to Beslan//
Yesterday, the process of idenetification of former Ichkeria president
Aslan Maskhadov was completed at the 124th Central Laboratory of the
Defense Ministry in Rostov-on-Don. Head of North Caucasus General
Prosecutor's Office Investigation Department Nikolay Khazikov said
that Maskhadov's body will not be delivered to his relatives for
burial, and that all materials, linked with Ichkeria leader will be
directed to the group investigating the seizure of School No.1 in Beslan.
Let us remind you that Aslan Maskhadov was killed March 8, during the
FSB operation in Chechen village Tolstoy-Yurt. According to the
official information, the Ichkerian leader, who was hiding in the
basement of a private house on Suvorova street, died of an explosion
by means of which Spetsnaz tried to make an entrance into the
basement. FSB director Nikolay Patrushev immediately reported the
success of the operation to President Vladimir Putin, however the
latter requested that a thorough identification of the corpse be
carried out in order to exclude all possibilities of a mistake.
Maskhadov's body was delivered to the military base in Khankala, where
he was identified by captive rebels, some of his relatives, and even
Chechnya military commandant Grigory Fomenko, who had known Maskhadov
personally from the first Chechen war. However, that was not enough
Maskhadov's body was sent to a special laboratory in Rostov-on-Don.
Yesterday, head of North Caucasus General Prosecutor's Office press
service Sergey Prokopov told Kommersant that 16 research techniques
were used for identification at the laboratory. Experts had taken
samples of different tissues for comparative analysis with samples of
blood and hair of Maskhadov's relatives. Yesterday, identity of the
deceased was established 100 percent. According to Prokopov, now the
materials will be sent to the group investigating the terrorist act in
Beslan School No.1. Kommersant has information that it will stop
criminal prosecution of Maskhadov due to his death.
"The case against Maskhadov on charges of organization of armed
rebellion has been started in February 2000," Prokopov explained. "In
September, a group of so called Ichkeria's officials Zelimkhan
Yandarbiev, Akhmed Zakaev and Khozh-Akhmed Nukhaev have already been
prosecuted on these charges. The whole time Maskhadov had been wanted
by police as the organizer of the rebellion, however, soon afterwards
he was on retrieval by the group, investigating the hostage taking of
School No.1 in Beslan."
Let us remind you that Maskhadov refused any implications of the
school seizure and even promised to bring an action against Shamil
Basaev, who had admitted the responsibility for the terrorist act.
Nevertheless, in December of last year one of the district departments
in North Ossetia, which was addressed by the General Prosecutor's
office, issued sanctions for the arrest of both Maskhadov and Basaev
on charges of terrorism act organization.
The indictment against Ichkerian leaders was primarily based on the
evidence given by Nurpasha Kulaev, the only Beslan school hostage
taker remaining alive. "Kulaev openly named Maskhadov as the organizer
of the attack," Khazikov said. Moreover, he added that according to
the law on terrorism control, Maskhadov's relatives will not be
receiving the body.
Article 16 of the Law on Terrorism Control mentions that "burial of
terrorists, who died as result of suppression of terrorist act, must
be carried out according to the procedure established by the RF
Government. Their bodies are not subject to being released, and
information regarding their burial place is not to be issued."
Igor Trunov, lawyer and author of three books about the law on
terrorism control, who had also participated in the writing of the
draft of this law, told Kommersant that the above mentioned procedure
was added to the law in November 2002 as an amendment. "This rule does
not correspond with the constitutional principles, and may be appealed
against," he added.
He also said that on March 20, 2003 the government of Russia passed a
rule regarding the order of burial of persons, who died during
suppression of terrorism act. According to the rule, the burial is to
be carried out by special forces (unspecified by the statute). "These
special forces must not give out information about the burial place,
if he was a Russian citizen," Trunov emphasized. "However, if he was a
foreign citizen, the special forces must notify the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and civilian registry office at his last place of
residence. Such actions are subject to be appealed against by the
relatives of the deceased, like in Maskhadov's case. First they must
address the prosecutor's office with a request to be given his body.
Their request will be denied, in reference to the rule, mentioned
above. Then they must file an appeal to the court against illegal
actions of the prosecutor's office. The court will also deny their
appeal. Only after this they can address the Constitutional Court,
which in its turn may put a question of how the articles of the Law on
Terrorism Control relate with other laws."
Article 14, of the Criminal Code (presumption of innocence) mentions
that nobody can be returned guilty unless he has been convicted by the
court. And Article 49 of the RF Constitution says that "each person
indicted with criminal charges is considered not guilty, until his
guilt has been proved in accordance with procedure, prescribed by the
federal law, and has been established guilty by the court sentence,
coming into legal force."
by The Criminal Department