- Title: RUSSIA: Murdered human rights campaigner Maksharip Aushev buried in Ingushetia
- Date: 27th October 2009
- Summary: SURKHAKHI, INGUSHETIA, RUSSIA (OCTOBER 26, 2009) (REUTERS) MEN CARRYING BODY OF MAKSHARIP AUSHEV FOR BURIAL MEN DIGGING HOLE IN GROUND VARIOUS PEOPLE LOWERING BODY INTO GRAVE (2 SHOTS) FACE OF MAN MEN COVERING GRAVE WITH CARPET AND PRAYING GRAVE STONE WITH CYRILIC AND ARABIC INSCRIPTIONS MEN DIGGING HOLE FOR GRAVESTONE MAN KNEELING AND SINGING PRAYER VARIOUS OF MEN STANDING AROUND GRAVE AND SINGING PRAYERS (3 SHOTS) MOSCOW, RUSSIA (OCTOBER 26, 2009) (REUTERS) ALLISON GILL, RUSSIA OFFICE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, SITTING AT DESK HUMAN RIGHT WATCH REPORT ON INGUSHETIA ON TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIA OFFICE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, SAYING: "There is a serious problem of impunity, there is a serious problem of lack of accountability, where perpetrators for serious rights violations are not held to account and in particular perpetrators for attacks on activists are not held to account and this creates an enabling climate where perpetrators get the signal that they will not be punished for attacking activists." PICTURE OF KILLED HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST NATALIA ESTEMIROVA ON WALL PICTURE ON WALL SURKHAKHI, INGUSHETIA, RUSSIA (OCTOBER 26, 2009) (REUTERS) STREET SCENE PEOPLE STANDING BY FRUIT STALL PEOPLE STANDING OUTSIDE AUSHEV FAMILY HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEDA SARATOVA, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST FROM CHECHNYA SAYING: "The most interesting thing is that now they start to kill. Before they kidnapped and the people disappeared afterwards, but now they simply kill, get a man killed without problem. And we don't know who is next." VARIOUS OF MEN GATHERING FOR CONDOLENCES AT HOUSE OF AUSHEV (3 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 11th November 2009 12:00
- Reuters ID: LVA51X7TM57S5LF6E2U9N6A1XE98
- Story Text: A fourth human rights campaigner murdered in Ingushetia, is buried. Rights groups call on Russian leaders to condemn the killing and ensure those responsible were brought to justice.
Mourners of a fourth human rights campaigner killed this year in Russia's North Caucasus gathered on Monday (October 26) to bury his body at a family plot.
Maksharip Aushev, 43, who campaigned against what he said were abductions by the security forces, died at the wheel of his car after his vehicle was peppered with bullets as he drove to visit relatives in the nearby republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Mourners gathered in the drizzling rain for the funeral at the Surkhakhi village graveyard, about 10 km (6 miles) outside Ingushetia's largest city, Nazran.
Concern has mounted in recent months over the murders of human rights activists and reporters with links to the patchwork of republics which make up Russia's southern flank in the Caucasus mountains.
Rights groups called on Russian leaders to condemn the murder and ensure those responsible were brought to justice.
"There is a serious problem of impunity, there is a serious problem of lack of accountability, where perpetrators for serious rights violations are not held to account and in particular perpetrators for attacks on activists are not held to account and this create an enabling climate where perpetrators get the signal that they will not be punished for attacking activists," said Allison Gill, the Russia office director of Human Rights Watch.
There has been no Kremlin reaction to the killing.
At least four prominent campaigners have been killed so far this year.
On Jan. 19, Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer acting for the family of a Chechen girl murdered by a Russian army colonel, was shot in central Moscow. On July 15, Chechen activist Natalia Estemirova was murdered by unknown assailants. In August, Zarema Sadulayeva, the head of a Chechen children's charity, and her husband Alik Dzhabrailov were found shot dead in the boot of a car.
Human rights groups say activists and reporters are routinely subject to harassment by law enforcement agencies.
"The most interesting thing is that now they start to kill. Before they kidnapped and the people disappeared afterwards, but now they simply kill, get a man killed without problem. And we don't know who is next," said Heda Saratova, a human rights activist working in Chechnya.
Aushev, who hails from a prominent Ingush family, dived into local politics in 2007 by leading a campaign against the republic's security services who he blamed for the abduction of his son and nephew.
The kidnapping pushed Aushev, who had a flourishing building materials business, into public opposition to former Ingush leader Murat Zyazikov.
The Kremlin removed Zyazikov in October 2008 and replaced him with Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, with whom Aushev had good relations. Yevkurov was himself seriously injured in an assassination attempt in June.
Yevkurov on Monday visited the Aushev family's house in Nazran to pay his condolences, a rare sign of respect for a rights campaigner by a leader in the region. He vowed to take the investigation under his personal control.
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