–MASKHADOV ASSOCIATES SENTENCED
Chechnya’s Supreme Court sentenced four associates of the late Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov to prison sentences ranging from five-and-a-half to 15 years, Interfax reported on December 1. Vakhid Murdashev, who was captured on March 8, 2005 in the village of Tolstoi-Yurt, where he was hiding together with Maskhadov in a bunker built in a private house, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on four charges, including organizing an armed mutiny. Viskhan Khadzhimuradov was sentenced to seven years, Skandarbek Yusupov to six years, and Ilyas Iriskhanov to five-and-a-half years in prison.
–WMD DOCUMENTS FOUND IN CHECHNYA, BALUYEVSKY CLAIMS
Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, claimed on December 1 that documents describing the technologies of radioactive “dirty” bombs and chemical and biological weapons had been found in Chechnya. Russia, he said, should upgrade its system of protection against such weapons. “Terrorism is seeking ways of creating weapons of mass destruction, which forces us to take preventive steps,” RIA Novosti quoted Baluyevsky as saying.
–CHECHEN DELEGATION CLAIMS HARRASSMENT AT MOSCOW AIRPORT
Officials at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on December 4 confiscated the internal passports of 17 Chechens who were heading to Strasbourg for a European Council summit at the invitation of the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Alvaro Gil-Robles. Interfax quoted the head of the Chechen delegation, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, who heads the Chechen president’s office for guaranteeing citizens’ constitutional rights, as saying that the airport officials had behaved “extremely disrespectfully” toward members of the delegation, including women. Nukhazhiev said after the incident he considered canceling the trip, but Chechen authorities asked him to continue the mission. “Considering the importance of the planned Strasbourg meeting, the Chechen Republic authorities asked me to continue the trip,” he said. An unnamed Federal Security Service (FSB) official denied in an interview with Kavkazky Uzel on December 5 that airport officials had violated the delegation members’ rights.