03 February 2009, 20:00
Chris Chivers: "murder list" of Kadyrov's enemies needs verification
The authenticity of the list of 300 natives from Chechnya, sentenced to death by President Kadyrov, which was published in the western press, has not been proved yet. This was stated by Chris Chivers, one of the authors of the article published in the American "New York Times", in his exclusive interview to the "Caucasian Knot"; the article was about the story told by the murdered Chechen emigrant Umar Israilov about the cruelty of the Chechen regime.
"Last year, a Chechen native made an official statement addressed to the Austrian antiterrorist authority, where he asserted that he had worked for President Kadyrov and told about the list of Ramzan's enemies. As he had said than, 300 persons from this list were sentenced to death. We stated the existence of this police document in mid-January, and then published a copy of the list in our website. Then, this information was disseminated by mass media", said Mr Chivers.
"I have not seen this list, so I don't know details of its contents, and this is obviously a rich area for follow-on reporting. However, I can't guarantee its authenticity", the journalist believes.
Let us remind you that the article in the "New York Times" of January 31 entitled "Assassinated emigrant gave details of systemic cruelty of Chechen leader" presented evidences of Umar Israilov, former bodyguard of Chechen President, and his father Sharpuddi Israilov of what they had seen in Chechen secret prisons. The article notes that Israilovs' statements on the arbitrariness of Chechen power agencies are extraordinary even with account of the well-known widespread violence in the Caucasus.
Umar Israilov was shot dead in Vienna on January 13. Eight suspects of his murder were detained.
"I met Umar last year in Vienna, where he was hiding. As I understood it, he had recently changed his address, and was very worried about his safety. He had no police protection; he arrived to our meetings alone," Chris Chivers said in his interview to the "Caucasian Knot".
According to the journalist, Umar looked like a person who had decided to stand for his rights to the end. At the same time, Umar looked rather cautious and reasonable.
"We spoke about a range of issues in Chechnya, including authorities' corruption and illegal oil sales, and he seemed quite careful in his assessments: he knew what he knew, and didn't try to discuss issues in which he had no first-hand knowledge", said the author of the "New York Times" article.
Chris Chivers has added that details of detention of Umar's father Sharpuddi are covered in his legal complaint, which is posted as a pdf file on the "New York Times" website.
Let us note here that Israilov was not the first applicant to the Strasbourg Court whose complaint mentioned President of Chechnya. Earlier, such complaint was filed by another Chechen native Mokhmadsalakh Masaev who had accused Ramzan Kadyrov personally and Chechen authorities in general of his kidnapping in 2006.
Chechen human rights activists assert that Masaev's and Israilov's statements about secret prison are quite plausible. Employees of the "Memorial" believe that Israilov's accusations of Kadyrov and his assassination in Vienna are interrelated.
In its turn, the press service of the President and Government of Chechnya has treated the media publications about Ramzan Kadyrov's possible involvement in a series of recent murders accomplished in Russia and Europe as an attempt to discredit President of Chechnya.