Murdered Opposition Leader Buried in Ingushetia (Video)
More than 3.000 people -representing various teips (clans)- gathered on Monday in Ingushetia to bury Maksharip Aushev, yesterday murdered an opposition leader whose murder rights groups say has underlined the slide into violence across the North Caucasus.
Aushev’s body transported from Nalchik to Nazran yesterday evening. Mourners gathered in drizzle at a graveyard in the village of Surkhakhi, about 10 km outside Ingushetia’s biggest city, Nazran. His body buried at a family plot, according to Moslem traditions. People named it as a political murder and condemned to crime.
“We need to stop this outrageous shooting of people. If Yevkurov cannot fight this then he must say so and leave his post,” said Akhmed, a 42-year-old resident of Ingushetia who declined to give his surname.
“The situation is so bad that it simply cannot get any worse after the murder of Maksharip. This is the absolute limit,” said Vakha Chapanov, a 51-year-old journalist in Nazran.
“2-3 days before the murder, I talked with him. Maksharip warned me and said that the government will kill both of us soon and their attempt will be at abroad. He said this, but for some reasons this information didn’t save him. Probably he thught that if he go with somebody else’s car, then they wouldn’t know where he is” said Magomed Khazbiev, another opposition leader in Ingushetia. And added “Maksharip was a member of the largest teip (clan) in the country. Our former president Ruslan Aushev was his cousin. So consequences of the murder may be very serious”.
Dissident website Ingushetiyaru.org linked between murders of Magomed Yevloev and Maksharip Aushev. It wrote: “Anyone who dared to speak against the authorities or speak the truth, is doomed to the fate shared by Magomed and Maksharip.”
The Washington Post quoted the words of Aushev from their interviews and indicated possible killers of Maksharip. In an interview with The Washington Post this month, Aushev accused the security forces of conducting an indiscriminate campaign of abductions, torture and killings in Ingushetia that had only strengthened the rebels. He singled out the powerful Federal Security Service, one of the successors of the KGB, as well as local police controlled by Ramzan Kadirov, the Kremlin’s puppet leader in neighboring Chechnya. “I don’t consider them officers. I consider them bandits,” he had said in his interview.
Human rights groups say activists and reporters are routinely subject to harassment by law enforcement agencies in Russia, especially North Caucasus. There has been no Kremlin reaction to the killing so far. So rights groups called on Russian leaders to condemn the murder and ensure those responsible were brought to justice.
Magomed Mutsolgov, a prominent activist in Ingushetia, said Aushev’s killing called into question whether Yunusbek Yevkurov was able to control the violence. Yevkurov himself was nearly killed in June 2009, when a suicide bomber swerved into his motorcade. “You see how they kill journalists and human rights workers, it continues, and there is no real investigation into any of them,” said Mutsolgov, whose organization, MASHR, tracks violence in the republic.
“There needs to be a clear condemnation of this kind of killing by the Russian leadership because what happens at the highest level sends a signal to those below,” said Allison Gill, the Russia office director of Human Rights Watch.
“One of the problems in Russia is that there has now been a long history of people who speak out, of reporters, of human rights workers and especially activists in the North Caucasus, and when people are not held accountable or when the leadership remains silent it does help create a climate of impunity. The trend in the North Caucasus is increasing violence, increasing instability and increasing danger to those who work on justice and human rights issues,” said Human Rights Watch’s Gill.
“Sadly, the new killing … clearly shows an atmosphere of impunity in the North Caucasus,” Tatyana Lokshina, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, said Sunday. “Civil activities, human rights and opposition activities have virtually become a form of suicide.” Lokshina, who personally knew Aushev, said that he became involved in rights activities after his son and nephew were kidnapped in 2007. Aushev later got them released. “He started working in human rights in Ingushetia and tried to combat abductions. He was a very brave man,” said Lokshina.
Heidi Hautala, chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, published a statement about murder of Maksharip Aushev. She expressed her condolences to the Aushev family and said “Sadly the latest tragic outrage confirms the appropriateness of Parliament’s recent decision to award the 2009 Sakharov Prize to Memorial”.
On the other hand, another victim of the attack 29 years old Tanzila Zeiytovoy, the cousin of Maksharip Aushev, is still in the Nalchik State Hospital. Doctors have operated five times for her wounds and her life is under threat.
Let’s remember that Maksharip Aushev was a fierce critic of Russian puppet Ramzan Kadirov. Just two weeks ago Aushev wrote a reports about Kadirov´s death squads, who openly kill civilians in Ingushetia and present them as “killed rebels” in front of the cameras.
Video shots from the funeral of Maksharip Aushev: