17 October 2005, 10:50

Civilians may be presented as rebels

Caucasian Knot's correspondent has come to know that Vadim Zhekamukhov, a resident of Kenzhe, has been identified among rebels killed on 13 October. According to his relatives, when shooting began in the city, Vadim went to take away his child from the kindergarten. He was later found dead, a submachine gun lying near him.

The relatives say that not only Vadim Zhekamukhov was not a Wahhabi, but he hated them. He was in mourning, therefore he had some bristle on his face. He was probably believed to be a rebel and then the weapon was planted on him to cover the crime, the killed man's relatives think.

Vadim's 21-year-old wife Assia says that Vadim was a driver with a veterinary clinic. When shooting began, he rushed to the kindergarten to take away their child and was killed by representatives of federal forces. "He never had anything to do with arms, and he never was any 'Wahhabi.' But when we found his body, the Russians had planted a gun on him," his wife claims. Now government representatives refuse to give away his body, according to the Associated Press.

"This is a commonplace in Chechnya. I have not been to Nalchik and I do not know this case, but it is quite possible that such things happen there too. Well, basically, they happen throughout entire Russia, only specifics are different — drugs or weapons are planted in order to jail one or get paid for closing a case," an officer of the Department for the Combating of Organised Crime and Terrorism of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry told Caucasian Knot's correspondent. "Of course, civilians sometimes die in Chechnya and in other North Caucasus republics, too, where counter-terrorist activities are conducted, and weapons are planted on them by officers that are not the most conscientious. But one should understand that they do so not because they want to register another victory for themselves, but for fear that they can be jailed for good because of this accidental killing."

According to the officer, one should not say that "someone is killed on purpose and then registered as a rebel. Only Kadyrovtsy do so. It is not a custom among us, federals."

Human rights defenders also suppose that law enforcement and security agencies may register killed local residents as rebels. "We have registered facts that weapons, munitions, and explosives were planted on killed civilians in Chechnya to present them as killed rebels later," says Alexander Cherkasov, a member of the Management Board of the Human Rights Centre Memorial. "Therefore I do not rule out such cases in Nalchik, but we have no official information as yet."

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