Russian authorities must investigate activist’s murder

Russian and Kabardino-Balkarian authorities must find and bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Maksharip Aushev, a leading civil society activist from Ingushetia, Amnesty International said on Monday.

“The murder of Maksharip Aushev must not become yet another unresolved attack on civil society and human rights activists in the North Caucasus,” said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director.

Maksharip Aushev’s car was found riddled with bullets on a road in Kabardino-Balkaria, a republic neighbouring to Ingushetia, on Sunday.

In 2007 and 2008 Maksharip Aushev had been active in organizing protests that highlighted human rights violations under then President of Ingushetia, Murat Ziazikov.

For several months he had run the opposition website, after the previous owner, Magomed Yevloev, was killed in police detention on 31 August 2008.

During this period, he had been threatened and intimidated because of his activities. There had been repeated recent attempts to kidnap him, including on 15 September 2009, when suspected members of the security forces blocked the street he was driving on and tried to abduct him.

Maksharip Aushev was a member of the expert council for the North Caucasus of the Ombudsperson for human rights of the Russian Federation.

The current President of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, has entered into a dialogue with human rights and civil society organizations and has started to reform law enforcement bodies there.

“Bringing those responsible for Maksharip Aushev’s killing to justice is important for the stability of the whole region,” said Nicola Duckworth.

“The authorities, including the federal authorities in Moscow, are responsible for protecting the lives of civilians in the North Caucasus,” Nicola Duckworth said. “Without that, the fuse which has been lit in the region, will ignite and bring even more violence, abuses and grief.

Amnesty International wishes to send its condolences to the family and friends of Maksharip Aushev.