Prosecutors in Ingushetia Order New Probe into Yevloev’s Death
Prosecutors in Ingushetia have ordered a new investigation into how opposition website founder Magomed Yevloev was shot and killed in police custody last August 31. Reuters on March 16 quoted Musa Pliev, a lawyer for the Yevloev family, as saying the prosecutor’s office in Ingushetia has launched a criminal investigation into the abuse of office during Yevloev’s unlawful detention. The administration of Ingushetia’s previous president, Murat Zyazikov, had claimed Yevloev was killed accidentally when he tried to grab a police officer’s gun. Pliev, who is an aide to Zyazikov’s successor, President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, told Reuters that the new probe will “aim to establish the persons who participated in his detention, as well as those who sanctioned his transportation to a police station.” Yevloev’s family and other opponents of Zyazikov accused the former Ingush president and other top officials of his administration of being behind Yevloev’s murder.
ChRI Denies Zakaev Feared Traveling to Belgium Might Lead to Extradition
The press service of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI) government posted a statement on the Chechenpress news agency’s website (Chechenpress.info) on March 18 denying European and Russian media reports that Akhmed Zakaev, the London-based ChRI prime minister, refused to participate in a session of the European Parliament in Brussels over fears the Belgian authorities could extradite him to Russia. The ChRI government’s press service said that the question of creating a European Parliament initiative group for “the right of the Chechen people to self-determination” was discussed in the European Parliament with Zakaev’s participation last year and that Zakaev and members of the proposed initiative group met in February and decided to reschedule its founding conference until this autumn because of elections in the European Parliament this summer. ChRI Interior Minister Usman Ferzauli attended a European Parliament meeting on Chechnya on March 18, Chechenpress reported. Gazeta.ru on March 17 quoted Russia’s ambassador in Brussels, Vadim Lukov, as saying Moscow expected Belgian authorities not to let Zakaev into their country. Meanwhile, Chechen Parliamentary Speaker Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov on March 19 strongly condemned the European Parliament members’s plan to create an initiative group on Chechen self-determination, telling RIA Novosti that the Chechen people “have not asked anyone to solve non-existent problems on its behalf.”
Suspect in Israilov Murder Released in Austria
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on March 16 that Austrian authorities released a Chechen man from custody who had been detained in connection with the murder of former Kadyrov bodyguard Umar Israilov in Vienna last January because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him. Police detained eight people in connection with the murder and, according to AFP, three are still being held in Austria, including a Chechen man identified as Otto K. who is suspected of having helped the killers after the January 13 assassination. Another suspect, 31-year-old Chechen Turpal Ali J., has been held by Poland since February 19 and Polish authorities will reportedly rule on his possible extradition to Austria by the end of the month. Austrian officials, however, doubt he fired the deadly shots, AFP reported.
Chechnya Reportedly Behind on its Electricity Bill
Reuters reported on March 18 that Chechnya has not paid its electricity bill for months and cited industry officials as saying that this was a sign that Moscow, in response to the economic crisis and the sharp drop in oil revenues, is beginning to reduce subsidies. The news agency quoted Ilyas Edilgiriev, Chechnya’s deputy finance minister, as categorically denying that the ministry owed any money to regional power supplier Nurenergo or any other Russian electricity firm. Industry officials, however, told Reuters that Chechnya was refusing to pay, leaving no alternative to cut-offs unless it changed its policy. Khalid Magomadov, the head of the regional power supplier, Nurenergo, told Reuters that the money owed for electricity has topped 2.2 billion rubles ($63.71 million) in Chechnya and that cutting power “is not a threat, it is a tangible reality.”