Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 34

On November 6, Oleg Orlov, chair of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and Lyudmila Alekseeva, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group and president of the International Helsinki Federation, released the text of an open letter to Danish Justice Minister Esperson, in which they wrote, inter alia: “Our organizations have over the course of recent years conducted a monitoring of human rights in the Chechen Republic, striving to draw the attention of Russian and world public opinion to the mass infringements of human rights taking place there and to assist the defense of the victims of the conflict. We can confirm that torture and the cruel treatment of people charged with participating in the illegal armed formations… has acquired a systematic character.” The authors then drew attention to what had happened to two high-ranking separatist officials, a former deputy premier of Chechnya, Turpal-Ali Atgeriev, and the chair of the Chechen parliament [elected in 1997], Ruslan Alikhadzhiev: “The fate of both of them was tragic. Turpal-Ali Atgeriev was sentenced to prison but died shortly thereafter in captivity. Ruslan Alikhadzhiev disappeared without trace after he had been taken into custody” (, November 6).