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Friday, December 14, 2007

Annals of "Pacified" Chechnya: Judicial Assassination

The Associated Press reports:

A judge from the top court in southern Russia's violence-plagued Dagestan region was fatally shot by an unidentified attacked on Tuesday, police said. Dagestan Supreme Court Justice Kurban Pashayev was shot more than 10 times with a pistol in the entranceway of his apartment building in the provincial capital, Makhachkala, city police spokesman Mavludin Galimov said. The province in Russia's restive North Caucasus is troubled by violence linked to the separatist conflict in neighboring Chechnya, a police crackdown on Islamic militancy and internal power struggles. Russian media said Pashayev was the third person to be attacked after being involved in a case earlier this year in which four men were acquitted of attempting to kill the head of the regional branch of Russia's state pension fund. One defendant lost a leg in a bomb attack on his car, and a lawyer for two defendants remains hospitalized after being shot in the head last month, Interfax and RIA-Novosti reported. The Russian Supreme Court threw out the acquittals, ordering a new trial, which is scheduled to start this week. Also Tuesday, in Ingushetia, another province that borders Chechnya, an 18-year-old rookie in an elite police unit was fatally shot by attackers who fired at him at close range from a passing car as he was walking home after work, the Ingush Interior Ministry said. No suspects have been detained in either attack. Law enforcement officers and government officials are often targeted in attacks in the North Caucasus.

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