–TOP REBELS KILLED IN DAGESTAN
Security forces in Dagestan killed two prominent Islamic militants and detained two others in a special operation against rebels at a dormitory on the outskirts of Khasavyurt, the Associated Press reported on October 19. One police officer was killed and four police and security service officers were wounded in the operation. According to Abdul Musaev, a Dagestani Interior Ministry spokesman, Sultan Abdiyev, the “emir” of Chechnya’s Shelkovsky district, was killed along with Takhir Badayev, who was believed to be a close aide to Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basaev.
–CPJ PROTESTS CAMPAIGN AGAINST FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on October 17 sent an open letter to President Putin declaring that it is “deeply troubled by a campaign of harassment and intimidation” against Stanislav Dmitrievsky, Director of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (ORChD) and Editor-in-Chief of its newspaper, Pravo-Zashchita (Rights Defense). On September 2, the Nizhny Novgorod regional prosecutor’s office criminally charged Dmitrievsky with inciting ethnic and religious hatred for publishing in Pravo-Zashchita statements made by Aslan Maskhadov and Akhmed Zakaev calling for peace talks. Dmitrievsky faces up to five years in prison if convicted. On September 22, Dmitrievsky was summoned for questioning as a witness in a separate criminal case against the ORChD for tax evasion that was initiated by the Nizhny Novgorod Interior Ministry. That criminal case emerged one month after the federal tax service accused the ORChD of tax evasion and froze its bank account. The CPJ called on Putin to do everything in his power to get the charges against Dmitrievsky dropped and threats made against him and ORChD Information Center editor Oksana Chelysheva investigated.