Chechnya’s Shariah Court has begun to examine the case of maverick field commander Salman Raduev, who is charged with “anticonstitutional activities” and “attempting to overthrow the legally elected government.” The court must decide whether to Raduev should be arrested. (Kommersant-daily, July 14; also see the Monitor, July 13)
Raduev says: “I consider myself guilty of no crime and intend to hide from no one.” To prove it, he held a press conference this week in a building located barely ten meters away from the office of the prosecutor general, who has issued an order for his arrest. Raduev said he would obey only the decision of the Shariah Court. He does not intend to appear before the Prosecutor General’s Office or other government agencies. (Kommersant-daily, July 14)
Raduev has a well-trained and disciplined armed group behind him and enjoys the support of other influential field commanders. (See the Monitor, July 13) He is making it clear that he is not afraid of his main political opponent, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Raduev’s trial–if it actually takes place–could produce a result diametrically opposed to that which Maskhadov intended. Raduev could use the courtroom to denounce what he calls the president’s “treasonable, pro-Moscow” course.
ARREST OF DAGESTANI LEADER PROVOKES CHECHEN PROTESTS.