Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 21

North Caucasus Natives Reportedly Arrested in Egypt

Russian news sources reported on May 29 that Russian citizens in Egypt, most of them students at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, had been detained by authorities. quoted a Russian student at Al-Azhar as saying that Egyptian special services had arrested 198 students of Islam from Russia with families and children in Cairo, and that the arrests had begun on May 24. The website reported that among those arrested were 73 people from Chechnya, 12 from Ingushetia, 10 from Dagestan and three from Tatarstan. Subsequent reports by some Russian media on May 29 stated that “at least 35” Russian citizens had been arrested in Egypt.

Rights Group, Chechen Rights Ombudsman Slams Shamanov Appointment

Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman, Nurdi Nukhazhiev, criticized the appointment on May 25 of Vladimir Shamanov, the former commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, as commander of Russia’s airborne troops. Kommersant on May 26 quoted Nukhazhiev as saying that no one in Chechnya had “forgotten the violence this general perpetrated on peaceful residents and that he tried to shield military criminals.” Shamanov has publicly supported Yury Budanov, the Russian tank commander convicted in 2003 of murdering a Chechen woman, Elza Kungaeva, who was granted early release from his 10-year prison sentence last December, after serving eight years and six months. Human Rights Watch also condemned Shamanov’s appointment as airborne commander, stating on May 28 that the general had “presided over operations fraught with human rights violations and civilian casualties” and “should be investigated, not promoted.” The New York-based group noted that in February 2005, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled that Shamanov was responsible for a military operation in Katyr-Yurt in February 2000 that involved the “massive use of indiscriminate weapons,"” and led to the loss of civilian lives. According to Human Rights Watch, troops under Shamanov’s command also committed at least 14 killings that amounted to extrajudicial executions in the Chechen village of Alkhan-Yurt in December 1999.