Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 41

Dagestani Activist Found Dead

A member of the human rights group Mothers of Dagestan for Human Rights, Mustapa Abdurakhmanov, was found dead in Makhachkala, RIA Novosti reported on October 30. Another member of the group, Ismail Butdaev, said Abdurakhmanov’s colleagues say it is possible he was murdered. According to Butdaev, Abdurakhmanov went to pick up his daughter from her madrassa (Islamic religious school) on October 29 but disappeared on the way there. His body was found in a morgue on October 30, and Butdaev said an employee of the morgue told him Abdurakhmanov was murdered. The Mothers of Dagestan for Human Rights, which publicizes kidnapping, torture and falsified criminal investigations and calls on the authorities to investigate and punish those responsible, has been persecuted by Dagestani authorities (see article in this issue).

Moscow Theater Siege Commemorated

An official ceremony was held in Moscow on October 26 to commemorate the victims of the Dubrovka theater siege six year earlier, RIA Novosti reported. After a minute of silence, white balloons, one for each hostage who died, were released into the sky. Relatives of victims of other terrorist acts, both in Russia and abroad, had been invited to the ceremony. According to RIA Novosti, around 500 people attended the ceremony. On October 23, 2002, about 40 Chechen militants took an audience of around 900 people at a Dubrovka theater performance of the musical Nord-Ost hostage and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. After three days of appeals and negotiations, Russian security forces used an undisclosed gas to disable the hostage-takers before they could carry out their threat to blow up the hall. The Russian authorities say 39 terrorists were killed in the raid, and 130 hostages died due to the effects of the gas.