Russia

Mourning for Chechen refugee savagely murdered in Ingushetia

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Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus, February 13 - Visadi Shakirov, who was savagely murdered by Russian soldiers, is being mourned in Satsita, a refugee camp located on the outskirts of the Ordzhonikidzevskaya village in Ingushetia.
Russian forces arrested Shakirov, 31, in the beginning of January 2003, during special operations in the Shunzhenski district of Ingushetia. The Russian media later spread the news that Shakirov, in September 2002, participated in the murder of Akhmed Zavgayev, Prefect of the Nadterechny district of the Chechen Republic. However, according to relatives, Visadi had nothing to do with the murder.

From the minute Visadi was arrested, nothing had been known about his fate or that of his brother, Visita, who went searching for him the day following his arrest. On February 11, the body (or rather what remained of it) was returned to his parents. The torso was badly burned, half of his head was missing, both feet were cut off, and his stomach and heart were ripped out. Yet the handcuffs, attached to a small part of the chain, still remained on his hands.

The fate of the victim's brother is still unknown; although few believe he will come back safe and sound.

Many refugees from other camps have come to Visadi's parents to offer their sympathy. However, according to Muslim tradition, the dead must be buried before sunset; yet Shakirov's body has yet to be buried.

On Wednesday, February 12, a rally took place in the camp protesting the acts of the Russian armed forces. More than 500 people demanded an end to arresting innocent people, and appealed to human rights activists to defend them from the Russian forces who are increasing their activity in areas where Chechen refugees are living.

Turning for help to the human rights activists, Shakirov's family is requesting that a forensic examination be made of the body; meanwhile, they are awaiting a visit to their camp of Alvaro Gil-Robles, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

(J/A,E,T)

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