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Trial Begins in Case of Rebel Attack in Dagestan

Published: May 22, 2001 (Issue # 671)


MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan - One early spring morning in Chechnya, a column of 48 servicemen left Vedeno for a town up in the mountains, but part way into the trip one truck's radiator overheated and the column came to a halt. A band of Islamic rebels spied the vulnerable troops and attacked.

Only five of the servicemen survived to tell the tale. The rebels killed 32 men on the spot and took 11 more prisoners, later offering to trade them for Colonel Yury Budanov, who was in military custody on charges of murdering a young Chechen woman. The offer was turned down, and the mutilated bodies of the prisoners were later found in a nearby village.

On Monday, seven men accused of participating in the attack on the Perm OMON unit on March 29, 2000, went on trial in Dagestan's Supreme Court. They face from 20 years behind bars to life imprisonment if convicted.

The suspects appeared in court before Judge Butta Ivaisov to begin hearing the case against them. Six of them sat together inside the defendants' cage, but the seventh, Eduard Valiakhmetov of Tatarstan, sat outside. He has given evidence against the others and was afraid to be confined with them, a court officer said.

Some of the suspects' relatives and a delegation from the Perm OMON joined journalists in the courtroom.

The accused acted strangely, as if under the influence of drugs. They reacted slowly to questions and had to have questions repeated several times. One of them, Magdi Magomedov, 35, kept pressing his head with his hands.

Investigators say the defendants were under the command of Abu-Quteiba, a warlord of Arab origin who is based in the Shatoi region.

Valiakhmetov, 18, and Shamil Kitov, 31, from Karachayevo-Cherkessia, are not accused of taking part in the attack, but are on trial with the others because they are suspected of belonging to the same rebel formation.

The other five - Magomedov, 35; Imamshamil Atayev, 26; Gadzhi Batyrov, 22; Khairula Kuzaaliev, 27; and Atai Mirzayev, 31 - are all from Karamakhi, Dagestan, and are followers of Wahhabism, an austere brand of Islam.

Investigators told the court that Atayev was found to be mentally ill and asked that he be sent for treatment. No decision was made Monday.

In 1998, residents of Karamakhi proclaimed the village to be independent Islamic territory and drove out all state officials. The Wahhabis introduced Islamic Sharia law and punished violators by beating them with sticks, a job carried out by Magomedov, according to investigators.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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