09 February 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 31- February 6

Despite declarations about solving the terror act in the "Domodedovo" Airport, investigatory bodies continue searching those involved; Dokku Umarov promises dozens of suicide bombers for Russia; eleven years later, rights defenders demand to investigate the tragedy in Novye Aldy, riots in Egypt force Azerbaijan to evacuate plenty of its citizens, - look these and other events in the review of the week of January 31-February 6, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Terror act in "Domodedovo": under-investigation

Last week, statements about solving the case and the versions about the persons of the suicide bomber and his accomplices sounded as a sort of an echo of the terror act in the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport, committed on January 24.

On February 2, late at night, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated, when visiting the editorial board of Channel One in Ostankino, that power agents had managed to solve the terror act in the "Domodedovo" Airport committed on January 24.

Later, Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB), said that within the investigation of the terror act in the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport, several persons had been detained. In his turn, Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigatory Committee, reported that investigators possessed data about involvement of suicide bomber's family members in preparing the terror act. However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized the officials, who reported about solution of the act.

At the end of the week, it became known that the militia had announced a search of two natives of Ingushetia, who could be involved in preparing the terror act at the "Domodedovo" Airport.

"Currently, two young men who disappeared from the Ingush village of Ali-Yurt at about the same time with Magomed Evloev, who, according to preliminary data, had triggered the explosive device in "Domodedovo", have been put on the search list," said a source from law enforcement bodies on Sunday.

He explained that after the suicide bomber had been identified, law enforcers "began studying his contacts and relatives of the suspect." "In the course of this work, a circle of persons was defined, possibly involved in the explosion in Domodedovo," said the source.

The "Caucasian Knot" also reported that the Ingush Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) found it premature to state that Magomed Evloev, a resident of Ingushetia, was the suicide bomber who had committed the terror act in the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport. 
Russia: Umarov promises new explosions

Last week, Dokku Umarov, militants' leader of Northern Caucasus, stated, in his video address to the people of Russia, that suicide bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities were committed by the grouping "Riyadus-Saliheen"; they will continue; and for this purpose he had some 50-60 prepared persons.

Apart from Umarov, the figurants and speakers in the video appeal were Amir Khamzat, who was in charge, according to Umarov, of training suicide bombers, and another man, named by Umarov as Seifullah. It followed from the video that the latter would soon make a self-explosion in the territory of Russia.

The video appeal was posted in the evening on February 4 on the website "Kavkaz-Centre", which is supporting those North-Caucasian militants who remained, after the split in Imarat Kavkaz, loyal to Umarov. The video has no date of recording and no information about where exactly the suicide bomber will execute his mission. At the same time, Umarov makes it explicitly clear that the responsibility for the attacks of suicide bombers in Moscow is on the militants of Northern Caucasus commanded by him.

The Umarov's appeal is addressed to the peaceful population of Russia. While taking responsibility for the ongoing and planned terror acts, he urged Russian people not to consider Muslims guilty of committing them. The militants' leader blamed Russian authorities for losses and deaths associated with terror acts. In particular, Umarov called the "lawlessness" and oppressions of Muslims in the Caucasus, as well as attacks on Caucasian natives in Russian cities as the reasons.

Dokku Umarov explained a series of suicide bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities is planned in the near future - "on a weekly or monthly basis" during this year. "I won't say that there are hundreds of us," said the militants' leader about resources for committing such acts, "but we'll surely find five or six dozens."

Umarov's speech was followed by Khamzat and future suicide bomber Seifullah. Khamzat, like Umarov, called Russian population to urge Russian withdrawal from the Caucasus, while Seifullah called his speech "the last plea" and focuses on the religious aspect of the act, for which he was getting ready.

Novye Aldy: 11 years after the tragedy

February 5 was exactly 11 years after the special operation conducted by Russian power agents in the village of Novye Aldy, Chechnya, during which at least 56 civilians were murdered.

In the context of the sad anniversary of Novye Aldy, Russian human rights activists drafted a petition addressed to the President of the Russian Federation and to the Investigatory Department for the Chechen Republic of the Investigatory Committee under the Russian Prosecutor's Office (ICPO).

The authors of the document remind that on March 5, 2000, the prosecutor's office of Grozny initiated Criminal Case No. 12011 on the fact of events in Novye Aldy; and on July 26, 2007, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) made its decision on the case "Musaev at al vs. Russia" (Complaint Nos. 57941/00, 58699/00 and 60403/00, Musaev et al vs. Russia), recognizing that the responsibility for the murder of applicants' relatives is on Russian power structures and authorities. And in February 2010, a group of rights defenders sent an appeal to the Public General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika with a request about the investigation of this crime. On March 29, 2010, they received an answer.

In this regard, human rights activists and interested citizens want to know: What steps have been taken to arrest the man (Sergey Babin, a fighter of St Petersburg OMON), who was found guilty of this crime? What has been done to establish other culprits? Was the term of the additional criminal investigation further extended? What are the results of the investigation team? Everyone is invited to sign in support of the request on the website http://pomnialdy.ru.

Azerbaijan: Egyptian Echo

Last week, Azerbaijan continued evacuating its nationals from Egypt, where riots are ongoing. On January 30, a special flight brought 103 persons back to Baku and the body of Nidzhat Godzhaev, an employee of the Azerbaijani Embassy, who perished on 29 January in Cairo. Azerbaijanis who are citizens of Russia and other countries were among the evacuees. Sixty more persons were evacuated from Egypt in the period from January 31 to February 3.

Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, the opposition demands to demolish a monument to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak erected in Khyrdalan, a suburb of Baku. "At the time, when the Egyptian people are trying to overthrow their dictator, we build a monument in his honour," said Igbal Agazade, a deputy of Milli Majlis and chair of the Umid (Hope) Party, speaking at the plenary session of the Milli Majlis on February 1. "This monument should be demolished; and a monument to M. Rasulzade, the founder of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (existed in 1918-1920) should be erected instead," Mr Agazade said.

Besides, Panakh Gusein, one of the leaders of the opposition People's Front, also demanded to nullify the earlier decision of the Ministry of Education to name one of Baku schools after the Egypt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak.

Meanwhile, the public order forces are ready to prevent any attempt to desecrate or demolish the monument to the current President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak in Khyrdalan, said the police of the Apsheron District. "Until now, there were no such attempts against the monument; however, we are ready at any moment to prevent such attempts," the policemen have stressed.

Power agents are all the time on duty at the monument to President of Egypt; and there is no need to strengthen the guard of the object.

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