09 November 2015, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 2-8
Search in the office of the Ingush human rights organization "Mashr"; decision of the Tbilisi Court concerning the claim filed by the former owner of the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel; death of a detainee after interrogation at police station in Vladikavkaz, and related protests held by local residents, see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 2-8, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Law enforcers carry out search at office of Ingush human rights organization "Mashr"
On November 6, men in masks cordoned off the yard of the office of the Ingush human rights organization "Mashr" and the house of its leader Magomed Mutsolgov and began to carry out the search. Law enforcers seized a large package of documents and PCs. According to Magomed Mutsolgov, law enforcers presented the court's resolution "based on a report" stating that he was allegedly engaged in anti-state activities to discredit the Russian policy.
A number of human rights defenders have already expressed their support for the leader of the "Mashr". Magomed Mutsolgov himself has stated that he received warnings about possible criminal proceedings against him because of his public activities. And several days prior to the search, in his blog on the "Caucasian Knot", Magomed Mutsolgov criticized local law enforcers, who did not allow members of the Public Monitoring Commission (PMC) of Ingushetia to visit a hospital in Nazran, where Leyla Chemurzieva stayed, who was wounded during the special operation held on October 31.
Tbilisi Court pronounces decision concerning claim filed by former owner of "Rustavi 2" TV Channel
On November 3, the Tbilisi City Court pronounced the decision to transfer 60% of the shares of the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel to businessman Kibar Khalvashi, and 40% to the Limited Liability Company (LLC) "Panorama", owned by him. Thus, the Court has granted the Kibar Khalvashi's claim to return to him a part of the property of the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel. Court hearings in the case were held against the background of mass protests. According to the managers of the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel and a number of Georgian NGOs, the authorities are seeking to close the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel before the parliamentary elections to be held in 2016.
The Court's decision on the Kibar Khalvashi's claim has been condemned by Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the human rights organization "Freedom House". However, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili called on not to "politicize" the trial in the case of the "Rustavi 2" TV Channel.
Passenger bus Moscow-Yerevan involved in road traffic accident near Tula
On November 3, a passenger bus on the route Moscow-Yerevan fell into a ditch in the Tula Region. 63 people were travelling by the bus. 55 people were injured, and of them, according to the updated information, nine people died. At the moment of the road traffic accident, the passenger bus was driven by Garnik Arutyunyan. He has been arrested. According to the Russian police, the road traffic accident occurred, since the driver fell asleep while driving the bus.
Vladikavkaz residents hold rallies in connection with death of detainee after interrogation at police station
At night of November 1, Vladimir Tskaev, a 39-year-old resident of Vladikavkaz, who was suspected of wounding a policeman from a firearm, died at the Vladikavkaz hospital. The North Ossetian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has reported that the man "injured himself" during the interrogation. According to his family members, Vladimir Tskaev died from torture. On the same day, the family members and neighbours of the deceased man came to the rally and demanded to punish the guilty persons. After that, the North Ossetian MIA has reported that the Interior Minister suspended from duty the deputy chief for operative activities and three field investigators from the Criminal Investigation Department of the MIA's Department for Vladikavkaz.
On November 4, the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) reported that two staff members of the Criminal Investigation Department for Vladikavkaz were detained on suspicion of abuse of power and use of violence. They were arrested. However, they denied their involvement in the crime. On November 6, relatives and friends of the arrested policemen gathered for a rally and voiced the demand to carry out an objective investigation into the case.
In Azerbaijan, oppositionists and public activists oppose results of parliamentary elections
On November 2, in Azerbaijan, the Central Election Commission (CEC) reported the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections held on November 1. The turnout at the elections reached 55%, and following the outcome of the elections, 71 parliamentary mandates were gained by the ruling "Yeni Azerbaijan" Party. However, the NGO "Institute for Democratic Initiatives" (IDI), which held the monitoring at the elections, reported that the real turnout stood at 25.52% and that serious violations were recorded at electoral precincts. The opposition "Musavat" Party has claimed that the elections in Azerbaijan are falsified and should be held again. Members of the movement "Republican Alternative" (ReAl) have also claimed the falsification of the election results.
Natives of southern Russia, killed in plane crash in Egypt, buried at home
Last week, in several regions of Russia, people buried bodies of deceased passengers and crew members of the Airbus A321 of the "Kogalymavia" airlines, which performed the flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg and crashed in Egypt on October 31. The plane crash killed 224 people, including natives of southern Russia: two minor natives of Dagestan and their grandmother. Volgograd resident Valery Nemov was the plane commander. He was buried in the village of Rudnya on November 6. Andrei Belomestnov and Valentina Martsevich, natives of the Krasnodar Territory, who worked as flight attendants on board of the Airbus A321, were buried on November 7. Passenger Victoria Sevryukova was buried in the Stavropol town of Blagodarny also on November 7.
Experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" note that they cannot exclude the version of involvement of militants from Northern Caucasus in the crash of the Airbus A321. It should be noted that on November 3, a top-ranking official from the Pentagon announced that a US infrared satellite recorded a thermal flash over the Sinai Peninsula several seconds before the crash of the Airbus A321.