25 August 2014, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 18-24

Election of President of Abkhazia; Russian humanitarian convoy's week-long waiting at Ukrainian customs in Rostov Region; rights defender Ilgar Nasibov beaten up in Azerbaijan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 18-24, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Abkhazia: voters elect president

On August 24, Abkhazia held voting at early election of republic's president, where there were four contenders: Aslan Bjaniya, Leonid Dzapshba, Raul Khajimba and Mirab Kishmariya. According to the preliminary vote tabulation, Raul Khajimba, who had been the favourite according to experts and opinion polls, is the winner with 50.57% of the votes, against 35.91% gained by his main rival Aslan Bjaniya.

During the week before the election, Abkhazia saw several accidents, related, according to the presidential candidates, with the election. On August 22, in Sukhumi, unidentified persons shelled the car of Izida Chaniya, the editor-in-chief of the "Nuzhnaya Gazeta" (Needed Newspaper); the woman did not suffer. On August 20, unidentified persons threw a grenade into the yard of the house of the head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia; nobody was hurt.

About a hundred observers from 24 countries monitored the election; while the European Union and Georgia stated non-recognition of the election.

Rostov Region: Russian humanitarian column waits for a week at Ukrainian customs

About 280 trucks of the Russian humanitarian convoy, sent back on August 12 from Moscow to the East of Ukraine, were stopped near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy. On August 14, Ukrainian officials started inspecting the cargos and recognized them as humanitarian aid. However, on August 22, without waiting for the end of the inspection, the trucks crossed the border and moved to Lugansk without representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who refused to accompany the convoy to the lack of security guarantees. The Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced the entry of the humanitarian convoy as illegal. Its Russian counterpart objected that the entry of the convoy was undertaken in accordance with the rules of the international humanitarian law. On August 23, all the trucks of the humanitarian convoy, which brought the aid to the Lugansk Region of Ukraine, returned to the Rostov Region.

Azerbaijan: beating of Nakhichevan rights defender Ilgar Nasibov

On August 21, in the city of Nakhichevan, a group of unidentified persons attacked the office of the Azerbaijani Resource Centre for Development of NGOs and Democracy. Ilgar Nasibov, an employee of the Centre, was severely beaten, said his wife Malakhat Nasibova, the head of the Resource Centre. She associated the attack with the human rights activities of her husband. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) stated that it was just a domestic incident. Malakhat Nasibova treated the MIA's statement as "lies and slander", noting that the authorities would not want to investigate. The attack on Nasibov was condemned by international human rights organizations.

North Ossetia: recall of license of local "Art Bank"

On August 18, the Russian Central Bank recalled the license of the Vladikavkaz commercial bank "Art Bank", stating that the bank had violated the respective federal banking laws and provided inaccurate reporting data. According to the National Bank of North Ossetia, the total deposits of individuals at the time of the license withdrawal of the "Art Bank" made 525 million roubles; and all the deposits were insured in the corresponding system. The payment of the insurance compensation to depositors will start on September 1.

Stavropol Territory: conviction of Alexander Lunin, ex-Mayor of Mikhailovsk, accused of series of land frauds

On August 19, the Shpak District Court of the Stavropol Territory sentenced Alexander Lunin, the former head of the city of Mikhailovsk (the centre of the Shpak District) to nine years in a high security colony and a fine of 40 million roubles on charges of a number of crimes, including land frauds, the signing of a falsified certificate of completion of water supply reconstruction, and taking bribes for providing land plots into lease. The defence of Lunin intends to appeal against the verdict.

Karachay-Cherkessia: acquittal of Soltan Semyonov, former head of Karachaevsk

On August 20, it became known that the Karachaevsk City Court of Karachay-Cherkessia acquitted Soltan Semyonov, the former Mayor of Karachaevsk, who was accused of misuse of budgetary funds. The defendant asserted that he had used part of the funds to pay salaries of municipal employees; however, the remaining funds were enough to settle all the necessary problems. At the trial, the prosecution asked to fine Semyonov by 300,000 roubles, but the court found no crime attributes in the actions of the ex-Mayor. The prosecutor's office has appealed against the acquittal.

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