The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

AIUSA media office, 202-544-0200 x302,

Amnesty International Calls on Russian Authorities to 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 today.

"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, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia
Program Director. "Bringing those responsible for Maksharip Aushev's
killing to justice is important for the stability of the whole region.

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

"In the past three years, since the murder
of Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalists and human rights activists have
continued to be targeted. These attacks are having a chilling effect on
democracy in Russia," said Josh Rubenstein, Northeast Director of Amnesty
International USA. "Activists like these, including journalists and lawyers,
cannot be expected to exercise their civic courage unless they believe
the government is willing to stand up for their rights and protect them."

Aushev's car was found riddled with bullets on a road in Kabardino-Balkaria,
a republic bordering Ingushetia, on Sunday.

In 2007 and 2008, Aushev was active in the organization of protests that
highlighted human rights violations under then President of Ingushetia,
Murat Ziazikov.

Aushev also ran the opposition website for several months
after the previous owner, Magomed Yevloev, was killed in police detention
on August 31, 2008. Aushev was a member of the expert council for
the North Caucasus of the Ombudsperson for human rights of the Russian

In response to his activities during this period, Aushev was threatened
and intimidated. There were several kidnapping attempts made against him
recently, including on September 15, 2009, when suspected members of the
security forces blocked the street he was driving on and tried to abduct

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.

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

For further information please see Amnesty International report:
Accountability for Human Rights Violations
Key to Normalization in North Caucasus

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International is a global movement of millions of people demanding human rights for all people - no matter who they are or where they are. We are the world's largest grassroots human rights organization.

(212) 807-8400