08 August 2011, 23:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 1-7
Start of Ramadan, Muslims' sacred fasting month; trial on resonant murder of football fan in Moscow, where residents of Northern Caucasus are defendants; fight of villagers in Ingushetia for their elected head; funeral of Georgian woman killed in terror act in Norway, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of August 1-7, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Caucasian Muslims start Ramadan
From August 1 this year, Muslims start their month of strict fasting, called Ramadan. This is the ninth month of the Muslims' Moon Calendar, which prescribes fasting from the morning namaz at the dawn till the evening namaz after the sunset. However, some Russian Muslims, in particular residents of Chechnya, unlike others, mark Ramadan starting from August 2; this decision is made by the local Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM), which causes disagreement in some of the believers.
During Ramadan Muslims undertake to observe the fasting, give alms, refrain from all sins and spend spare time reading the Koran. In Chechnya, sale of alcohol beverages is banned during Ramadan, while cafes, restaurants and canteens work only in the evening hours. On August 5, under the initiative of the Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Evkurov creation of the working group on moral issues was launched; the group will be in charge of monitoring the non-sale of strong beverages in the territory of the republic during Ramadan.
This year in Azerbaijan, Sheikhulislam Allakhshukyur Pashazade, leader of the Administration of Muslims of the Caucasus, made a special appeal to clergymen and named Ramadan a month of their trial. Muslims say that during Ramadan they feel their "involvement in the great community of Muslims of the whole world."
In the course of Ramadan, during the light hours of the day, real Muslims are not allowed not only to eat but also to drink any liquids. The right not to observe fasting is granted to sick persons, pregnant and nursing women. If a person is very sick or old and cannot keep the fasting, he or she should give food to needy and poor people in the daytime as expiation.
MCC starts considering football fan's murder case
On August 5, the Moscow City Court (MCC) started the trial on the case of the murder last December in Moscow of Yegor Sviridov, a fan of the "Spartak" FC. He was killed at night on December 6, 2010, in the course of the mass fight in Kronshtadt Boulevard. On June 20, 2011, the Moscow Prosecutor's Office approved the indictment on the case against Aslan Cherkesov, a native of Nalchik, and sent the materials to the MCC. The prisoners' dock also keeps the residents of Chechnya and Dagestan Akai Akaev, Arthur Arsibiev, Khasan Ibragimov, Nariman Ismailov and Ramazan Adarbiev.
A special attention to the case is based on the fact that Yegor Sviridov's murder had provoked mass nationalistic riots in the end of last year and earlier this year. Such nationalists' actions took place in Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Volgograd and other cities of the Russian Federation.
The case is considered by a panel of 12 main and 8 reserve jurors that was formed on August 3. The session to select the panel was held behind closed doors; in total, 50 candidates were summoned and considered.
At the session on August 5, defendant Cherkesov moved a motion to challenge the prosecutor Maria Semenenko, arguing that prior to the session he had observed close communication of the prosecutor and Sviridov's widow. Other defendants supported his motion; however, Judge Andrei Rasnovskiy found the arguments unjustified.
Also Aslan Cherkesov asked the court to dismiss the jury, asserting that the data about his alleged conflict on December 4, 2010, with "persons of Slavonic nationality" may hamper their objective consideration of the case. This motion was also dismissed.
Ingush residents demand to admit elected village head to work
On August 3, residents of the village of Plievo in Ingushetia passed an appeal at their rally to the republic's leader Yunus-Bek Evkurov and the authorities of the Nazran District with a demand to admit Abu-Sultan Pliev, the re-elected village administration head, to performance of his duties.
The story dates back to July 26, when at the election of the head of local administration Amirkhan Torshkhoev, nominee of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party, lost to Abu-Sultan Pliev, his counterpart from the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party. On the following day, as local deputies assert, bureaucrats arrived in plenty to the village "with persuasions and demands to cancel the election outcomes"; while local law enforcers refused to let the re-elected head of local administration to his working place.
Murtar Buzurtanov, head of the Ingush branch of "Edinaya Rossiya", says that Abu-Sultan Pliev's election was illegitimate, since most of the deputies of the local soviet are members of this party; however, they failed to coordinate their position with party leaders. There were also assertions that Pliev had been convicted – this was the reason for holding another election.
Abu-Sultan Pliev himself says that the first election was legal; he had never been convicted, while his colleagues from the "Edinaya Rossiya" were under serious pressure for their election of the nominee from the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya". The deputies of the local rural soviet of Plievo have already sent a letter of complaint to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, where they stated that Ingush authorities had violated the law on local self-government. A similar letter was sent to the General Public Prosecutor.
Woman-citizen of Georgia, killed in terror act in Norway, buried at homeland
On August 6, the city of Kutaisi held a funeral of the Georgian student Tamta Liparteliani, who perished in Norway during the terror act at the youth camp on the island of Uteoya.
On July 22, a double terror act was committed in Norway. At first a powerful explosion device was triggered at the complex of governmental buildings in central Oslo, housing an office of the Prime Minister. Several hours later, a man in police uniform opened fire in the youth camp organized by the ruling Labour Party on the island of Uteoya not far from the Norwegian capital. The terror acts killed 76 persons and wounded almost 100. The authorities detained a suspect of both terror acts – a Norwegian Anders Bering Breivik, 32, who was accused under the article of "Terror and terrorist activities".
The body of Tamta Liparteliani was found in the lake and identified by fingerprints. Journalists were officially informed about identification of the girl's body by Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. According to her story, the girl's body with two bullet wounds in her back was found in the lake. Tamta Liparteliani, 23, was the only foreigner on the list of 50 initially missing persons.
The funeral ceremony of the girl in Kutaisi was attended by President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, Ambassador of Norway to Georgia and Azerbaijan Erling Skonsberg and Sine Brudeset, Political Secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway.