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Tatar-Bashkir Report: June 30, 2005

30 June 2005
Supreme Court Confirms Conviction Of Raion Head's Murderers
The Russian Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by five residents of Tatarstan and Udmurtia convicted of murdering the former head of Tatarstan's Egerje Raion administration, Rafis Seyetov (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 2 and 18 September and 11 November 2002, 9 December 2003 and 10 February 2005), Interfax-Povolzhe reported on 29 June. The court left unchanged the 28 February verdict by Tatarstan's highest court. Thus the guilty verdict, under which the convicts will remain in prison for terms between nine and 17 years, comes into force. Seyetov was shot dead and his 19-year-old daughter was wounded near his house in the Nizhnee Kuchukovo village on 30 August 2002. Seyetov's predecessor in the post, then Tatar State Council Deputy Rostem Zakirov, was convicted of contracting the murder and sentenced to 17 years in prison. The investigation also revealed Zakirov's involvement in setting fire to Seyetov's hime in 2002, causing some 2.2 million rubles' ($77,000) damage to his family.

Civic Groups Call For Defense Of Language Rights
A number of organizations issued an appeal to the Tatar people to defend the "natural right of a people to be the only and unconditional owner of its native language," "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 29 June. The document was signed by the Latin Front, the World Tatar Congress, the Federal National Cultural Autonomy of Tatars, the Institute of Language, Literature, and Arts of the Tatar Academy of Sciences, the Tatar Public Center, the Tatarstan Writers Union, and the Tata PEN-center. "The transformation of the Russian Federation into a unitary, mono-national, and mono-lingual state has become the aim and content of state national policy. It isn't an occasional fact that the issue of the Tatar language became a key one on the final stage of the preparation of a new edition of the treaty on power-sharing between Moscow and Kazan," the appeal claimed.

Street Actions Held To Demand Public Control Over Housing, Municipal Reforms
The Tatarstan branch of the Russian Party of Life held meetings on 29 June on the issue of housing and municipal services in Kazan, Elmet, and Chally in which thousands of people took part, reported the same day. Participants called for an independent examination of housing and municipal-services tariffs and public control over the reform of the sector. Establishment of public committees titled People's Control over the Housing and Municipal-Services Sector in every city was proposed during the actions.

The Chally administration organized a previously unannounced farewell party for students of a professional school on the site of the meeting, seemingly to ward off the protest. Party of Life activists redirected thousands of people to another location to avoid incident. After the meeting, Chally Interior Directorate employees detained three party activists without explanations.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Sibai Prosecutor's Killers Convicted
Bashkortostan's highest court on 29 June convicted four people -- including the former head of the Sibai State Traffic Safety Inspection, Nuriekhmet Shahiev -- of organizing and carrying out the murder of Sibai prosecutor Khenif Qarachurin, RosBalt reported the same day. Shahiev, who was convicted of contracting the murder, was sentenced to 14 1/2 years in prison. Yevgenii Levchenko, 24, and Ruslan Kaipkulov, 19, were convicted of killing Qarachurin and received sentences of 16 and 13 years, respectively. The 50-year-old man who supplied the murder weapon, Yurii Grachev, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Shahiev and Levchenko were also ordered to pay Qarachurin's family 150,000 rubles ($5,200) each in compensation.

Qarachurin, who had filed several criminal cases against Shahiev alleging that he exceeded his authority as a traffic-inspection official, was shot to death in his apartment in December 2003.

Rights Organization Threatens To Sue Election Official
A representative of the Golos voters' rights association in Bashkortostan, Artur Asafev, told Regnum on 29 June that his association will file a defamation suit against Ufa Election Commission Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Sidyakin, who reportedly leveled allegations against human rights activists at a news conference on 28 June. Sidyakin said election commissions at all levels received some 300 complaints from the association concerning the republic's 26 June municipal elections, many of which turned out to be far-fetched and unfounded. Commenting on the association itself, Sidyakin said it was established on the eve of the elections and was used by certain elements who sought to spoil the elections. Sidyakin alleged that the organization was involved in muckraking and composing complaints.

Asafev said Golos worked with all candidates who appealed to it, irrespective of their party affiliations. He added that activity of the association's republican representation on election day was financed through a $1,000 grant won in the Golos Moscow department.

Golos, which was established in April 2000, unites public associations of Russia's 30 regions. The regional branch in Bashkortostan was founded in June 2005.

National-Bolsheviks Protest Alleged Beating Of Party Activist
Unidentified officials of the Ufa correctional labor camp denied reports of beatings of National-Bolshevik Party (NBP) activist Maksim Gromov, who is serving a sentence in the camp, Regnum reported on 29 June. The NBP Chelyabinsk branch announced its plans to hold a picket on 1 July against violence in Bashkortostan's prisons. Gromov was sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in the capture by party activists of a Health Ministry office in August 2004.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova