The leaders of the Chechen opposition have created a “Committee for the Freeing of Aiset Dadaheva and Fatima Taimaskhanova.” These are the two Chechen women who were sentenced on February 8 to sixteen and nineteen years in prison, respectively, for their role in the 1997 bombing of the Pyatigorsk railway station. Field commander Shamil Basaev said: “Dadasheva and Taimaskhanova will be freed in any case, even if it requires force.” A similar statement was released in the name of field commander Salman Raduev, who is in the hospital following an operation. Former Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsanov supported both Raduev’s and Basaev’s statements.
During the war in Chechnya, Basaev carried out an attack in the town of Budennovsk, located in Stavropol krai, and Raduev carried out another in Kizlyar, located in Dagestan. It would thus be naive to view their statements as empty threats. On February 13, the Stavropol branch of the Interior Ministry received an anonymous phone call warning that if Dadasheva and Taimaskhanova were not freed, a bomb would go off in the Stavropol railway station between February 14 and February 20. Security around the two accused Chechen women has been tightened (NTV, February 15).
Dadasheva and Taimaskhanova were found guilty of organizing and carrying out the bombing of the Pyatigorsk railway station in April 1997. Two people died and thirty were wounded in that bombing. The trial lasted seven months due to numerous protests by the lawyers of the accused and threats by Raduev, who said that the bombing was carried out on his orders but not by the accused Chechen women (see the Monitor, February 10).
Thus the threats by the two rebel field commanders were predictable, and it is unlikely that the Kremlin did not work up contingency plans to deal with possible terrorist acts. It is interesting to note that while the official Chechen authorities consider the case against Dadasheva and Taimaskhanova fabricated, they have not joined the opposition in issuing threats.
BEHIND THE SCREEN OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN LATVIA.