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WP: Ingushetian Activist Shot Dead By Police

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  • mariuslab2002
    Russian Activist Shot Dead By Police By Philip P. Pan Washington Post Foreign Service Monday, September 1, 2008; Page A09 MOSCOW, Aug. 31 -- A leading
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2008
      Russian Activist Shot Dead By Police

      By Philip P. Pan
      Washington Post Foreign Service
      Monday, September 1, 2008; Page A09

      MOSCOW, Aug. 31 -- A leading opposition figure in Russia's volatile
      Ingushetia province was shot and killed Sunday after being detained by
      police, authorities said. His colleagues issued a call for protests in
      response, and human rights groups demanded an investigation.

      Magomed Yevloyev, a businessman and the owner of a Web site that
      angered Kremlin-backed local leaders with its coverage of official
      corruption and police abuse, suffered a gunshot wound to his head
      while in a police car taking him to a station for interrogation, a
      spokesman for the Russian prosecutor's office told the Interfax news

      A posting on Yevloyev's Web site, Ingushetiya.ru, which the Russian
      government has been trying to shut down, called for a mass
      demonstration Monday in Nazran, the main city in Ingushetia and the
      scene of anti-government protests earlier this year that ended in
      violent clashes with security forces.

      The local government issued a statement saying that Yevloyev was shot
      after trying to seize a weapon from one of the police officers holding
      him. But a lawyer for Yevloyev ridiculed the explanation and said
      police dumped Yevloyev on a road after shooting him.

      "It was in no way a mistake," the lawyer, Kaloi Akhilgov, told the
      Reuters news agency.

      Yevloyev had just returned to Ingushetia after an absence of several
      months. He was seized by a large group of police officers after
      disembarking from a plane arriving from Moscow, according to a
      journalist at the scene who spoke on the condition of anonymity
      because he feared reprisals. The journalist said the regional
      president, Murat Zyazikov, happened to be on the same flight and
      called police to the airport after recognizing Yevloyev in the
      business-class cabin.

      Zyazikov, a former KGB officer and ally of Russian Prime Minister
      Vladimir Putin, has been struggling to contain a low-grade Islamist
      insurgency in Ingushetia, perhaps the most volatile of the
      impoverished ethnic republics of Russia's north Caucasus region since
      the government crushed a separatist rebellion in neighboring Chechnya.

      The Ingush insurgents have staged a series of deadly attacks against
      security officers and local authorities, and the local opposition has
      accused Zyazikov of exacerbating the situation by responding with a
      campaign of abductions, unlawful arrests and killings.

      Tensions have been running high since last November, when government
      forces allegedly killed a 6-year-old boy in a raid. Journalists from
      Moscow who traveled to Ingushetia to investigate the case were
      abducted, forced into a car with black bags over their heads and
      abandoned half-naked in a remote area, human rights activists said.

      Yevloyev was perhaps the most prominent member of the opposition in
      Ingushetia and one of Zyazikov's most vocal critics. In a posting on
      his Web site last year, he claimed that Zyazikov had put a $50,000
      bounty on his head.

      Because of government restrictions on journalists who visit the
      region, Ingushetiya.ru has been one of the few sources of independent
      information about the simmering conflict for the outside world. A
      Russian court ordered it to shut down in June, accusing it of
      disseminating "extremist" views, and the site's editor in chief, Roza
      Malsagova, fled the country in July with her family.

      But Yevloyev resisted the order, calling it "an attempt to silence the
      last independent voice" in Ingushetia and saying Russian courts had no
      jurisdiction over the site because it was based in the United States.
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