The Month in Brief - May 2006

May 1

During an official visit aimed at inspecting detention facilities in Chechnya, a delegation of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture was denied entry to the village of Tsentoroi, where the Moscow-backed Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov lives and his forces, widely accused of torture, are based.

Russian media reported that Ingush MP and father-in-law of Ingushetiya's President Murat Zyazikov, Magomed Chakhkiyev, who was kidnapped on February 27 in Nazran, was freed. According to Russian daily Kommersant, he was released already in the middle of April.

The Danish-Chechen Society of Friendship, which should help Chechens to integrate into the Danish society as well as to preserve their traditions, was established in the Danish town of Holte, Kavkaz-center reported.

May 3

The Moscow-backed Chechen parliament passed a bill on the Constitutional Assembly of the Chechen Republic, which will consider proposals for changing the republic's constitution approved during the Moscow-staged referendum in March 2003. The parliament also passed a bill on the Constitutional Court.

May 5

The Russian Supreme Court's Military Board overturned the North Caucasus District Military Court's acquittal (October 12, 2005) of two Russian Interior Ministry servicemen, Yevgeny Khudyakov and Sergei Arakcheyev, who had been accused of murdering three Chechen civilians in January 2003, and ordered a new trial.

A Moscow  jury acquitted two Chechens accused of killing Paul Klebnikov, the chief editor of the Russian version of the Forbes magazine, who was shot dead on July 9, 2004. The closed-door jury trial started on January 10, 2006.

May 8

A rally in memory Akhmat Kadyrov, the Moscow-backed Chechen leader assassinated two years ago, took place in Grozny.

May 9

The Finland-Caucasus Society announced that on May 2 the slain Chechen resistance leader Aslan Maskhadov's family, who live in Azerbaijan's Baku, asked for asylum in Finland on humanitarian grounds.

May 10

Local guerrilla commanders Timur Maayev and Bilal Edilsultanov were killed in the village of Novye Atagi, about 20 kilometers southeast of Grozny, according to reports by the Moscow-backed Chechen Interior Ministry.

May 13

A bunker of top Chechen guerrilla commander Doku Umarov was discovered in the village of Assinovskaya in the west Chechen district of Sunzhensky, the Russian and Chechen Interior Ministry announced.

May 15

The Grozny garrison military district court sentenced Russian contract soldier Pavel Zinchuk to 7 years in prison for causing grave bodily harm in an incident in the village of Staraya Sunzha in November 2005, which resulted in the killing of three Chechen civilians and for which the main perpetrator, Zinchuk's commander Aleksei Krivoshonok, was sentenced to 18 years by another court a month ago.

May 16

The North Ossetian Supreme Court found Nurpashi Kulayev, who had been proclaimed "the only surviving terrorist" involved in the Beslan school siege in early September 2004, guilty of hostage-taking, terrorism and six other crimes. The reading of the verdict should be completed in several days.

Local Interior Ministry forces killed two guerrillas in an apartment building in Kizilyurt, Daghestan. One policemen was killed in the batlle.

May 17

Ingushetian Deputy Interior Minister Jabrail Kostoyev and six other people were killed in a bomb attack on Kostoyev's car near Nazran, Ingushetia's largest city.

Five soldiers were killed in an ambush on a Russian military convoy near the village of Nikikhita in Chechnya's Kurchaloyevsky district.

May 19

The Russian-Chechen Information Agency, established by the Nizhny Novgorod-based NGO Society of Russian-Chechen Friendship (ORChD), received the "Free Press of Eastern Europe 2006" award from German foundation ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. ORChD head Stanislav Dmitriyevsky received the prize in person in Hamburg.

Russia took over a six-month chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

May 23

Four Russian Interior Ministry servicemen were killed in a clash with Chechen guerrillas near the village of Eshilkhatoi in Chechnya's Vedensky district.

May 25

Chechen resistance leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev signed a series of decrees by which Akhmed Zakayev became Foreign Minister in the government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, replacing Usman Ferzauli, who was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister for European countries; Khizir Umarkhadzhiyev became Sadulayev's envoy to the Middle East countries and Abu Khasiyev became his envoy to Turkey.

The Moscow-backed Chechen Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev stated that the authorities would start taking to courts those journalists that "throw groundless insults" at the Moscow-backed Chechen leaders, especially Premier Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Kremlin-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev and other officials met in Grozny with human rights defenders led by Svetlana Gannushkina to discuss abductions in Chechnya, the dismantling of TACs in Ingushetiya, and the mysterious illness in Chechnya's Shelkovsky district.

Representatives of Russian human rights organizations Grazhdanskoye sodeystviye and Memorial organized a rally in central Grozny to protest against ongoing abductions in Chechnya, including the abduction of Grazhdanskoye sodeystviye's driver Bulat Chilayev, who was kidnapped together with Grozny resident Aslan Israpilov near Sernovodsk on April 9.

The North Ossetian Supreme Court jailed Nurpashi Kulayev, who had been proclaimed "the only surviving terrorist" involved in the Beslan school siege in early September 2004, for life.

May 27

15-year-old Zamira Jabrailova, a Grozny school student and member of the dance ensemble Vaynakh, became Miss Chechnya 2006 in a beauty contect organized by the Moscow-backed Chechen authorities.

May 29

In his first state-of-the-nation address to the Moscow-backed Chechen Parliament, the Moscow-backed Chechen President Alu Alkhanov called, among other things, for the dismantling of the clan-based political system in Chechnya as well as in other North Caucasus republics.

An illegal prison, until recently run by a Russian police unit, was discovered in Grozny. Two days later the building was demolished, but human rights defenders managed to document traces of illegal detentions, torture and other human rights violations that had taken place there.

May 30

The pro-guerrilla website Kavkaz-Center announced that in April and May Chechen warlord and Vice-Premier of the government of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Shamil Basayev visited the North Caucasus republics of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Daghestan, and Chechnya and held meetings with local guerrilla commanders.

In an interview with the Russian daily Komsomolskaya pravda, Ramzan Kadyrov called for a large-scale security operation throughout the North Caucasus, including Ingushetia, Daghestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Cherkessia.

May 31

Two or three fighters of the "Siddik" jamaat (guerrilla group) and a policeman died in a security operation in the village of Nesterovskaya in Ingushetiya's Sunzhensky district. According to the Russian NGO Memorial, security forces summarily executed a civilian who resided in the house where the guerrillas hid.

Compiled by Prague Watchdog. Along with these monthly summaries, we also publish weekly summaries, distributing them on Mondays to the subscribers of our free weekly newsletter.




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