“The European Union calls on the Russian authorities to condemn and investigate threats made by the Chechen government authorities against journalist Elena Milashina (pictured), and to ensure her safety.
“The EU condemns unequivocally all threats, verbal attacks or violence against journalists in pursuit of their work. Over recent years, we have seen that the space for independent journalism and civil society in the Russian Federation has decreased. Incidents of intimidation, threats and violence against journalists are frequently reported. We expect the Russian Federation to uphold its international and domestic obligations and to ensure that journalists are able to work in a safe environment without fear of reprisal.
“We also urge the Russian authorities to investigate fully the attack against Elena Milashina and lawyer Marina Dubrovina on 6 February, in order to bring those responsible to justice. We are concerned at other attempts to silence journalists, including the criminal prosecution of journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva, who is charged with justifying terrorism for her critical remarks concerning the Russian authorities and may face up to 7 years of imprisonment. The freedom of the media must be respected and the charges against her dropped.”
German federal prosecutors announced that they are taking over investigation cases of the murder of a Georgian asylum-seeker in Berlin, confirming earlier reports. (Pictured: Zelimkhan Khangoshvili).
While Berlin’s attorney general saying evidence points to Russian state involvement, pressure is reflecting upon Chancellor Angela Merkel government demanding to send a strong signal to Moscow.
Prosecutors made clear that there is “sufficient evidence” to indicate that the man’s murder was carried out on the behalf of the Russian state or by Chechnya. The German Foreign Ministry also announced that two employees at Russia’s embassy in Berlin had been designated personae non grate and were expelled.
The names and positions of the diplomats were not revealed, although the Ministry said it took the move after Russian authorities failed to “cooperate sufficiently” in the murder investigation.
Russia’s foreign ministry called the move to expel the diplomats an “unfriendly, groundless step” and vowed to retaliate.
“Germany provided asylum and a passport to a terrorists? Do German taxpayers know that their Government protects terrorists under fake identity in Germany?” asks a rhetoric question Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, a Bulgarian journalist who was sacked from her Bulgarian newspaper after writing a story alleging that CIA flights were used to ship arms to “terrorists”.
German media reported that the killed in the park man was Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national of Chechen origin, who may have been involved with the Chechen insurgency in the 2000s. He was allegedly a supporter of terrorist leader Shamil Basaev. In September 2004 Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school hostage situation in which over 350 people, most of them children, were killed and hundreds more injured.
Image above: Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was killed in Berlin park Kleiner Tiergarten on 23 August 2019, at around midday when he was walking through a wooded path on his way back from the mosque service he attended. Hee was shot twice in the head by his assassin.
The leader of Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party (PvV) Geert Wilders (pictured) confronted Prime Minister Mark Rutte with a request to explain how a Turkish man who is suspected in involvement in terrorism in Chechnya, and with Islamic State (ISIS),was released from prison, and could freely perambulate in Utrecht streets.
“…How can anyone with a criminal record full of atrocities from manslaughter to theft, destruction and rape roam freely and shoot with a weapon in a tram innocent people dead??? Explain that, Rutte”, Wilders challenged the Prime Minister, via his Twitter micro blog.
Meanwhile a Turkish businessman residing in Utrecht told BBC Türkçe that the shooter Tanış had “fought in Chechnya“ and that a “few years ago was arrested and released for his connection to ISIS. He was not a part of the Turkish community [in Holland], he was a outcast“, he added.
Turkish intelligence service is investigating the motive of the suspect in #Utrecht shooting. President Erdogan has announced, according to reports of Reuters news agency from Ankara. The intelligence services investigate whether there is a terrorist motive and trace or whether the suspect had a different impulse. In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns” the attack.
The intelligence services have launched an investigation into possible ties of the assailant with the terrorist groups, namely if he had contacts in Chechnya, or in Islamic State (ISIS).
The leader of Chechen Republic (Russia) Ramzan Kadyrov is willing to end his term as the governor without renewal, he said on the Moscow 24 TV channel.
Kadyrov told that he does not see himself in another high-ranking federal position “I am not a man of this level,” he added.
Kadyrov, 42, has ruled the Russian North Caucasus Republic of Chechnya since 2007, taking over the lead after his father Akhmad brutal assassination (2004) in a terrorist act. He was re-elected by the Chechen parliament in 2011 and won the position of a head of the Republic in election in 2016 with 97.5% of the vote.
A female suicide bomber has blown herself up nor far from a police station checkpoint in Grozny, the Chechen capital, Interior Ministry said on Saturday, November 17.
Following the incident, police officers and civilians hadn’t sustained any injuries, the official added.
“On the outskirts of Grozny an unknown young woman exploded herself,” acting head of the Chechen Interior Ministry Apti Alaudinov told reporters.
The Chechen Republic court confirmed the detention of Oyub Titiev, head of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya. Titiev was arrested on questionable drug possession charges on 9 January and has been detained since then.
“Russia’s international commitments include an obligation to protect human rights defenders. The European Union expects the Russian authorities to abide to these commitments so that the cases against Mr Titiev and Mr Dmitriev can be dropped, and Mr Titiev immediately released” – the European External Action Service statement of the spokesperson says.
Titiev arrest appears to be directly connected to his human rights work for Memorial. The organisation has been targeted in recent months in the North Caucasus, among others through arson attacks on its office in Ingushetia and on Titiev’s lawyer’s car in Dagestan, as well as an attack against Mr Sirajutdin Datsiev, the Head of Memorial’s office in Dagestan.
Respected historian and representative of Memorial in Karelia, Yuri Dmitriev, has also faced questionable accusations, and on 14 June had his acquittal overturned by Karelia’s High Court, sending the case for retrial and prolonging Mr Dmitriev’s uncertainty over his fate. The dubious charges brought against him have already led to his detention for a period of 13 months.
Four militants who tried to abdicate visitors of the Orthodox Church of St. Michael Church have been neutralised, Chechnya’s head Ramzan Kadyrov informed reporters on Saturday (19/05/2018). The families of victims will receive aid.
“The militants entered St. Michael Church, intending to abdicate churchgoers,” he said. “All four militants were neutralized in a special operation.”
A policeman died from injuries, and one churchgoer was severely injured, Kadyrov continued. (Some media sources indicated two killed policemen).
“According to the latest information, the militants received the order from a Western country,” Kadyrov said.
The leader of Chechnya added that he immediately arrived at the scene of the incident, where he “directly controlled the special operation, which took just a few minutes.”
“Measures are taken to identify the neutralised militants, and the incident site was cordoned off by law enforcement officers,” Kadyrov said.
A Chechen law enforcement source informed that one churchgoer was killed and the other seriously injured, and at them moment is in intensive care. The police cordon around the church was lifted soon after the end of the special force operation.
The leader of Republic of Chechnya (Russian Federation), Ramzan Kadyrov puts the blame for radicalisation of Paris terrorist Khamzat Azimov (1997-2018) on French society.
“I think it necessary to say that the entire responsibility for Khamzat Azimov stepping on a path to crime rests with the French authorities. Chechnya is only is birth place but he grew up in French society, where his personality, his views and principles, were formed,” Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel.
However Kadyrov acknowledged that the terrorist had Russian citizenship in the past, formally receiving passport according to existing procedures at the age of 14, “but his passport became invalid as he skipped issuance of a new one at an age of 20,” he explained, adding that latest reports gave him grounds to think that Azimov had had contacts with French law enforcement and special services, and they were well aware of his radical views.
Kadyrov also extended his condolences to the family of a slain man, stabbed to death by Azimov in a lively touristic area next to Paris Opéra Garnier. The killing was qualified as a “terrorist act” by French authorities.
Khamzat Azimov came to France as an asylum-seeker from Chechnya with his parents in early 2010, and lived in Nice and Strasbourg, he was naturalised the same year at age of 13, and later received a scholarship in Strasbourg University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Azimov came to police radar on 2016, and was monitored by special services as S-listed after his attempts to go to the Middle East to join Islamic State.
Daesh related news source #Amaq has posted an online video depicting Khamzat Azimov masked, giving an oath to #IS commander Baghdadi in a move to proof he was their soldier (mujaheddin) and his act was premeditated.
“Russian Government continues to quash dissent and civil society, even while it invades its neighbors and undermines the sovereignty of Western nations. We once again urge Russia to end its brutal occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, to halt the abuses perpetrated by Russian-led forces in Ukraine’s Donbas region, and to address impunity for the human rights violations and abuses in the Republic of Chechnya” – says the 42nd annual Human Rights Report.
“This year, we have sharpened the focus of the report to be more responsive to statutory reporting requirements and more focused on government action or inaction with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights. For example, each executive summary includes a paragraph to note the most egregious abuses that occurred in a particular country, including those against women, LGBTI persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous persons, and members of religious minorities” – said John J. Sullivan
Acting Secretary of State.
“Over the past year, through the Russia Magnitsky and Global Magnitsky sanctions programs, we have undertaken some of our most aggressive measures yet. No human rights abuser, no matter where in the world, is out of our reach” – Sullivan added.
Image: arrest of Maria Alekhina, Moscow, 21 April 2018.