Rights Groups Condemn Nazran Violence

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 46

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued statements condemning the abduction of the three REN-TV reporters and Memorial’s Oleg Orlov in Nazran, Agence France-Presse reported on November 24. “This horrific crime has a clear political motive to silence independent voices. More reporting is needed from troubled Ingushetia, not less,” Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia director Holly Cartner said in a statement. “The Russian government must take immediate steps to investigate the abduction and ill-treatment of human rights defender Oleg Orlov and the three journalists and to bring those suspected of violations to justice,” Amnesty International said. The International Helsinki Federation also issued a statement condemning the abduction of the REN-TV reporters and Oleg Orlov, as well as the more generalized crackdown on opposition demonstrations in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities, including Nazran, Kasparov.ru reported on November 25.

President George W. Bush released a statement on November 26 expressing concern about the crackdown on opposition protests in Russian cities, including Nazran, the Associated Press reported. “I am deeply concerned about the detention of numerous human rights activists and political leaders who participated in peaceful rallies in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and Nazran this weekend,” Bush’s statement read. “I am particularly troubled by the use of force by law enforcement authorities to stop these peaceful activities and to prevent some journalists and human rights activists from covering them.”

Kavkazky Uzel reported on November 29 that the head of President Vladimir Putin’s human rights council, Ella Pamfilova, along with the heads of 14 human rights groups, had written a letter to Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika complaining that the criminal charges filed in connection with the abduction of the three REN-TV journalists and Memorial’s Oleg Orlov did not include the charge of kidnapping. The letter asked Chaika to do everything possible to “establish the truth” about the incident.