The Chechen government says it knows who was responsible for the murders of six International Red Cross workers in the village of Novye Atagi in December 1996. The killings, carried out on the eve of Chechnya’s presidential election, shocked the world. An aide to President Aslan Maskhadov said yesterday that they were committed by Adam Deniev. Deniev is also accused of the murder of seven residents of the village of Avtury in 1994. Deniev, a Chechen, is the leader of the pro-Russian "Adamallah" [Humanity] movement. Maskhadov’s spokesman said that the Russian government has ignored repeated requests to turn Deniev over to the Chechen authorities for trial.
Deniev denies all involvement, saying that he had already left Chechnya by the time the Red Cross murders were committed. He claims that the charges against him are politically motivated — to discredit him and the movement he leads. Deniev was one of the Chechens who most ardently opposed Chechnya’s first president, Djohar Dudaev. During the two-year war, he organized numerous meetings against what he called the "pseudo-gazavat" [holy war] and tried to talk the republic out of fighting against the Russian army. After Russian forces were withdrawn from Chechnya, Deniev organized demonstrations in Moscow in support of Russia’s territorial integrity. In accusing such a person of the Red Cross murders, Grozny is also, in effect, accusing the Russian government of involvement in the killings. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, January 27)
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