On 12 September, a court in the Russian Republic of Chechnya convicted 14 men of ‘participation in an illegal armed formation’ and ‘illegal purchase and possession of weapons’. The trial was held in secret, with relatives claiming they were promised the men would receive lighter sentences if they did not contact rights groups or the media.
For several years, young Daghestani men have been disappearing, reported missing by their families only later to be declared ‘destroyed in counterterrorism operations’. Evidence from the families of many of these men as well as local rights groups and experts, suggest they may have been kidnapped by the authorities, and that faking the war on terror is just another face of Daghestan’s raging corruption.
One police officer was killed and three more injured in Chechnya on Monday in a coordinated knife, bomb, and car attack, according to official reports. Four of the five attackers, one of who was 11 years old, were killed during the attacks, and a fifth wounded.
On Friday, former employees of Ingushetia’s Centre for Countering Extremism were sentenced by a court in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Neither the prosecution nor the defence was satisfied with the verdict, although many activists maintained that sentencing was ‘a huge achievement for human right defenders in the North Caucasus’.
Investigators from the Khorava Street murder case faced questioning from MPs on Monday, into alleged failures by the investigation. A parliamentary commission was set up in the wake of large street protests in Tbilisi, which followed the partial acquittal of the suspects in the case and allegations the investigation was mishandled. [Read more…]
Georgia’s State Security Service (SSG) has launched an investigation into Malkhaz Machalikashvili, the father of Temirlan Machalikashvili, a 19-year-old boy killed by security forces in Pankisi in December, after he said he ‘and several hundred others’ had planned to blow themselves up at the SSG offices but changed their minds. Machalikashvili later explained his speech was merely an emotional speech, insisting he would do no harm to Georgian people.
Six people are dead and four more injured, after an attack on a church in the Daghestani city of Kizlyar. Five parishioners and the attacker were killed, while the injured included two police officers, who remain in hospital. The attacker was reportedly a member of the Islamic State. [Read more…]
Shamil Nurmagomedov, the brother of suspected IS militant Marat Nurmagomedov, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for providing material help to a terrorist organisation. A court ordered that their father, Kazim Nurmagomedov, be detained for two months.
On 22 November, in a special operation in Tbilisi, Georgian special services liquidated an armed group which included Akhmed Chatayev, also known as ‘one-handed Akhmed’. Chatayev was considered one of the leaders of the Islamic State. During the battle with Georgian special services he refused to disarm, and committed suicide by detonating a grenade. This is, perhaps, everything that is known from official sources about the operation in the Georgian capital, which lasted for almost a day.
Georgian authorities and Grozny Mayor Muslim Khuchiyev have denied holding secret security talks in Georgia. Khuchiyev was recorded by journalists from Rustavi 2 at a hotel in Batumi, fuelling speculation his visit was related to recent counterterror operations in Georgia.