04 August 2014, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 28 to August 3

Death of public figure Timur Kuashev in KBR; escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone; arrest of human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov in Azerbaijan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of July 28-August 3, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

KBR: death of a public figure Timur Kuashev

On July 31, Timur Kuashev, a journalist and a public activist, disappeared in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR). On August 1, the journalist's dead body was found in a suburb of Nalchik. A forensic examination revealed no signs of a violent death; and, according to the official version, he died from his cardiovascular problems. His funeral was held on August 2 and was attended by about 200 people.

Let us note here that in May 2014 Kuashev reported threats received from a policeman after the journalist's detention in Nalchik at the mourning march dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the end of the Caucasian War. His colleague Abdullah Duduev, the editor of the magazine "Dosh", said that Kuashev was shadowed. The last event with Kuashev's participation was the roundtable on the situation in Gaza Strip.

Karabakh conflict zone: escalation of conflict and increase victims

Last week saw a tension scale-up in the contact line in the Karabakh conflict zone. Every day, the Armenian and Azerbaijani parties accused each other of violating the ceasefire.

On July 29, a soldier of the Azerbaijani Army was wounded in the conflict zone; and on July 31, two soldiers of the Nagorno-Karabakh Army and one Azerbaijani soldier were killed. On August 1, eight Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in a battle. The OSCE Minsk Group expressed its deep concern about the escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and demanded urgent actions to settle it.

Georgia: ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili accused of abuse of power and arrested in absentia

On July 28, the former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili was charged in absentia with abuse of power with humiliation of a victim's personal dignity (Part 3, Article 333, of the Criminal Code of Georgia) in the cases of the dispersal of the oppositional rally in November 2007, a pogrom in the office of the "Imedi" TV Company, and confiscation of property from the billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili.

On August 2, at the request of the Georgia's General Prosecutor's Office (GPO), the Tbilisi City Court arrested Saakashvili in absentia for two months, as well as Zurab Adeishvili, the ex-Minister of Justice, and David Kezerashvili, the ex-Defensce Minister, who figure in the same cases. Saakashvili's advocates intend to appeal against the arrest decision. The former politician himself believes that his case is political.

Azerbaijan: arrest of human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov

On July 30, in Baku, Leyla Yunus, the Director of the Azerbaijani Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) was detained. Together with her husband Arif Yunus, she was indicted on a number of articles, including treason. Arif Yunus is at home under police surveillance due to his poor health; Leyla Yunus is kept behind bars. International human rights organizations have demanded the release Leyla Yunus, stating the political nature of persecuting her.

On August 2, Rasul Jafarov, another Azerbaijani human rights activist and coordinator of the campaign "The Art of Democracy", was arrested. The court accused him of illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of power, and arrested him three months. Jafarov's advocate believes that his client is persecuted for political reasons.

Moscow: sentence on murder in Biryulyovo passed

On July 28, the Moscow City Court (MCC) sentenced Orkhan Zeinalov, a native of Azerbaijan, to 17 years in a high-security colony after finding him guilty of stabbing to death, at night on October 10, 2013, Yegor Scherbakov, a 25-year-old resident of the metropolitan area of Biryulyovo. The murder caused mass riots, during which Biryulyovo residents demanded to investigate the crime and liquidate the local vegetable base, which employed migrants. The defendant refused to plead guilty.

Stavropol Territory, Kalmykia, Astrakhan and Volgograd Regions define main candidates for leaders of these subjects

The four subjects of Southern Russia, where regional heads will be elected on September 14, have defined their possible candidates for the posts, which could pass through the "municipal filter". July 30 was the last day for them to submit documents to election commissions.

In the Astrakhan Region, Alexander Zhilkin, the incumbent governor; Oleg Shein, the leader of the Astrakhan branch of the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party; Oleg Snegov, the candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF); Alexander Starovoitov, the nominee of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR); and Alexander Tukaev, who was nominated by the "Automotive Russia" Party, managed to collect the required number of signatures of municipal deputies. In Kalmykia, five candidates managed to collect the required number of signatures and submit their documents. In the Volgograd Region, four persons received candidate's certificates, namely: Oleg Bulaev ("Communist Party of Social Justice"), Oleg Mikheev ("Spravedlivaya Rossiya"), Dmitry Litvintsev (LDPR) and Acting Governor Andrei Bocharov. In the Stavropol Territory, only five out of eight contenders managed to collect the required number of signatures of municipal deputies.


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