Published: January 13, 2009 (Issue # 1439)
Suspected Militants Hit
MOSCOW (AP) — Four suspected militants were killed in a clash with security forces in Ingushetia, Interior Ministry officials said Sunday.
The fighters were hiding in a house in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya, the officials said. One civilian and three policemen were wounded in the fighting Sunday.
The ethnic Chechen gunmen were wanted on criminal charges in Ingushetia and Chechnya, the ministry said.
MOSCOW (SPT) — Kazbek Pagiyev, formerly the mayor of North Ossetia’s capital, Vladikavkaz, was shot dead near his home in the southern republic, Kommersant newspaper reported Sunday.
Pagiyev, who resigned as deputy prime minister of the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia in December, was killed on Dec. 31 by two unidentified gunmen while he was sitting in his car. Pagiyev’s driver was also killed in the attack.
Investigators believe that Pagiyev’s murder is linked to the assassination of Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev a month earlier.
Five people have been arrested in connection with Karayev’s Nov. 26 slaying, though the suspected killer remains at large.
MOSCOW (SPT, Bloomberg) — A senior Interior Ministry official was shot dead in Dagestan in an attack for which a radical Islamic group in the southern republic claimed responsibility.
Valery Lipinsky, first deputy head of the Interior Ministry troops in the North Caucasus, was shot dead in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, on Dec. 29, the ministry said on its web site. He was 52.
A radical Islamic group in Dagestan, Jamaat Sharia, claimed responsibility for Lipinsky’s murder, according to a statement attributed to the group and posted on the Chechen rebel web site of Kavkaz Center on Jan. 5.
Dagestani officials claim to have wiped out Jamaat Sharia, a group notorious for deadly attacks against policemen in the republic, after killing its leader, Rasul Makasharipov, in 2005.
MOSCOW (SPT) — The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay a record 680,000 euros ($910,000) to the families of 10 Chechens detained by the military who were subsequently killed or went missing during the 2000-2002 military campaign in the republic, Interfax reported Sunday.
The Strasbourg-based court said in the ruling that Russian officials had failed to present proper justification for the military’s decision to resort to deadly violence against the Chechen detainees.
The government was also ordered to pay 41,000 euros to cover the court expenses, Interfax said.
Aleksanyan Out on Bail
MOSCOW (SPT) — Former Yukos executive Vasily Aleksanyan, who is suffering from lymphatic cancer, tuberculosis and AIDS, has been released from custody after posting bail of 50 million rubles ($1.78 million), Kommersant reported.
Aleksanyan, who has been charged with embezzlement and tax evasion, posted the bail on Dec. 30, after which guards outside his local hospital room were removed from duty, Aleksanyan’s lawyer, Yelena Lvova, told Kommersant.
On Dec. 22, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had violated Aleksanyan’s rights by failing to provide “relevant and sufficient reasons” to justify his detention in custody.
The court also called for “other reasonable and less-stringent” measures of restraint, saying Aleksanyan’s continuing pretrial detention has “lost any meaningful purpose.”
MOSCOW (SPT) — A Komi blogger convicted of disseminating hate rhetoric in an Internet posting has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, RIA-Novosti reported Saturday.
Savva Terentyev, who received a one-year suspended sentence last year for suggesting on a blog that police officers be publicly burned “like in Auschwitz,” is demanding 3,500 euros ($4,700) in damages for what he calls violations of his rights during his trial, his attorney, Ernest Mezak, said.
Nationalist on Trial
MOSCOW (SPT) — Leading ultranationalist activist Alexander Belov went on trial Sunday in Moscow on charges of inciting ethnic hatred during a speech to supporters on the National Unity Day holiday in November.
Belov appeared in the Dorogomilovsky District Court on charges that he stoked ethnic hatred with the Nov. 4 speech, in which he reportedly drew negative parallels between the authorities and Jews and insulted natives of the Caucasus and Central Asia by calling them “hordes of occupants.”
Belov, whose real last name is Potkin, was to appear in court last month, but the hearing was postponed after he was attacked on the street and suffered a fractured skull, among other injuries.