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Separatist Leader Says Kadyrov Not Behind Activist Killings


Akhmed Zakayev

Akhmed Zakayev

LONDON -- Akhmed Zakayev, the London-based head of the Chechen Republic-Ichkeria, says he doesn't believe pro-Moscow Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is behind the recent killings of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova or a children's aid worker and her husband in Chechnya, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Zakayev told RFE/RL on August 12 after meeting with Russian representatives that he believes "the most recent loud killings of Estemirova and [those of the aid worker and her husband that took place] yesterday were clearly directed against the authorities."

He called the three killings "politically motivated, demonstrative murders" that showed that the situation in Chechnya is out of control.

Zakayev also announced that he had agreed with Russian officials to hold a international congress of Chechens to discuss the future of Chechnya and to "develop a unified political platform."

Zakayev said his talks in recent days in London and last month in Oslo with Russian representatives shows that Moscow has changed its policies on Chechnya.

Zakayev, who has been charged with crimes by Russian officials, has lived in London with his family since 2002.

British authorities have refused requests by Moscow for his extradition to Russia.
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