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August 20th 2003 · Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Human rights activists are against October presidential election

Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - It is not possible to hold free election in Chechnya at this time, stated the Chechen and Russian human rights defenders during their meeting in the Ingush town of Nazran on August 18.

Members of Memorial, the Chechen National Salvation Committee, the Council of Non-Governmental Organzations, Mothers of Chechnya and other human rights organizations were present at the meeting.

“The elections will not bring peace to this republic if the advocates of independence, including the Chechen resistance movement, are excluded from the political process,” said Aleksandr Cherkasov, a member of Memorial’s executive committee.

“Experience in solving other local conflicts has taught us that armed resistance must first end before any elections and referendums can take place,” he added.

“The Kremlin’s desire to appoint a loyal government in Chechnya will make its society more radical and could lead to civil war,” stated Ruslan Badalov, chairman of the Chechen National Salvation Committee.

Participants at the meeting prepared a joint statement based on their speeches, asking the Chechen nation, the presidential candidates, and the Russian and international community to clarify their positions about the October 5 election.

The draft statement reads: “By making us participate, they deprive us of our future. If we don’t allow ourselves to be duped today, it will be a major step forward.”

The members also decided to hold a conference at the beginning of September entitled “Chechnya on October 5: Do We Have a Choice?”. Russian and Chechen public figures, such as Ruslan Khasbulatov and Ella Pamfilova, will be invited.

(H/E,T)

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