Month in Brief - January 2005

January 1

There should be no conscript serving under the Russian Defence Ministry in Chechnya as of this date, according to statements made by top Russian officials in December.

January 6

At least 396 locals were kidnapped in Chechnya in 2004, and 175 of them are considered to have disappeared without trace, plus 293 locals were found killed in the period, according to Memorial's monitoring, which covers less than a third of the Chechen territory.

January 8

Ingushetian forces stormed a building in the republic's largest town of Nazran, killing inside five guerrillas, who allegedly took part in the June 2004 co-ordinated attacks on the Ingushetian Interior Ministry forces.

January 10

An incident took place on the Chechnya-Dagestan administrative border between Dagestani policemen and Zulai Kadyrova, the sister of Vice-Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government Ramzan Kadyrov, which eventually triggered a major row between Chechen and Dagestani officials.

January 12

The local branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) raided the Press Center of the Council of Non-governmental Organizations (SNO) in Nazran, Ingushetia.

January 13

In its World Report 2005, Human Rights Watch stated that "as in earlier years, Russian troops committed hundreds of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, and tortured detainees on a large scale. They did so with almost complete impunity" and that "Chechen rebels were responsible for numerous direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, both inside Chechnya and elsewhere in Russia."

January 16

Some sources reported that Vakha Arsanov, former Vice-President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, had been detained by Moscow-backed Chechen forces.

About 500 people were kidnapped in Chechnya in 2004, a half more than in 2003, Russian news agency ITAR-TASS quoted Chechen Security Council head Rudnik Dudayev as saying.

January 17

The Moscow City Court sentenced 21-year-old Chechen student Zara Murtazaliyeva to 9 years in prison for an alleged plan to commit a terrorist act in the Russian capital. Human rights activists described the charges as fabricated and her defence will appeal to Russia's Supreme Court.

January 20

Chechen lawyer and human rights activist Makhmut Magomadov, who in the inter-bellum period led an official team conducting inquiries into kidnappings and disappearances and now works for the International Helsinki Federation and Chechen Committee of National Salvation, was abducted in Grozny.

Dagestani authorities instigated criminal charges for the use of force against Dagestani policemen by subordinates of Ramzan Kadyrov, the self-styled Vice-Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, who on January 10 tried to free Kadyrov's sister Zulai Kadyrova and her bodyguards from a police station by force.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) told Stanislav Dmitriyevsky of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a Nizhny Novgorod-based NGO reporting on human rights abuses in Chechnya, that a criminal case was initiated in connection with the NGO's Pravozashchita newpaper and then from its office seized, inter alia, documents containing information about its correspondents in Chechnya.

January 20-23

Dozens or hundreds of Beslan residents were blocking the Beslan-Vladikavkaz section of the "Kavkaz" highway demanding a truly independent investigation into last year's school hostage tragedy and the resignation of North Ossetian President Alexander Dzasokhov.

January 26

In Krakow, dozens of Polish activists protested against Russian policies in Chechnya on the occasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Putin, however, arrived one day after the protest due to bad weather.

January 27

In Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russian and local armed and security forces stormed an apartment block where several local guerrilas, allegedly belonging to a radical Islamic group "Yarmuk", had been blocked two days earlier, and killed everybody inside.

Chechen authorities instigated criminal charges for the kidnapping of eight relatives of Chechen resistance leader Aslan Maskhadov. The information about the multiple abduction case was made public by human rights activists in December 2004 and they blamed units subordinated to the Moscow-backed Chechen Vice-Premier Ramzan Kadyrov for the kidnappings.

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe declared that it was "dismayed by the recent spate of new, grave human rights violations in the Chechen Republic".

Chechen oil output amounted to 1.97 million tonnes in 2004, announced Grozneftegaz CEO Musa Eskerkhanov.

January 31

The number of kidnappings was three times lower in 2004 in comparison with 2003, said Alu Alkhanov, the Kremlin-backed leader of the Chechen Republic, according to Chechen news agency Grozny-inform.

Compiled by Prague Watchdog. Along with these monthly summaries, we publish also weekly summaries, distributing them on Mondays within our weekly newsletter.



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