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Tatar-Bashkir Report: September 1, 2005

1 September 2005
Former Guantanamo Prisoners Face Terrorism Prosecution In Tatarstan
Tatarstan Prosecutor Ildar Mokhemetjanov said on 31 August that former Guantanamo prisoners Airat Wakhitov and Rostem Ekhmerov have been detained by authorities are being held in Tatarstan on suspicion of having prepared and committed acts of terrorism in Tatarstan and several neighboring regions, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reported the same day. He added that republican prosecutors are investigating and should soon present formal charges against them.

Tatarstan resident Wakhitov and Chelyabinsk Oblast resident Ekhmerov were detained in Moscow on 27 August. After they were taken into the custody of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, they were kept at the Guantanamo Bay military base before being extradited to Russia in March 2004. Wakhitov filed a lawsuit in June alleging torture by his U.S. authorities. Mokhemetjanov said the current detentions are not linked to Guantanamo.

Shaimiev: Kazan Jubilee Turning Point In Russia's Policy Regarding Islam
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 31 August that Kazan's 1000 jubilee became a turning point in Russia's policy as regards the Islamic world, Interfax-Povolzhe reported the same day. Shaimiev made his comments during a meeting with a Kuwaiti delegation in Kazan. Shaimiev said Russian President Vladimir Putin clearly explained his position on this issue during Kazan millennium celebrations. "I think this is a very good signal and we are glad that it comes exactly from Tatarstan, on its example," Shaimiev said and expressed his hope that this political move "will be in demand and will be used in further dialogue between the Islamic and Christian world." Shaimiev believes it can be used in the future "in the international policy as a whole."

Kuwait Ready To Invest In Tatarstan
Kuwait's Islamic issues minister, Abdullah Ma'tuk al-Ma'tuk, said during a meeting with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 31 August that Kuwait is ready to invest in projects in the republic, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported the same day. "We see that Tatarstan is ready for those investments and a foundation for them exists in the republic: stability and laws protecting those investments," Al-Ma'tuk said. "We have agreed that experts will discuss specific projects of Kuwaiti investment." Al-Ma'tuk called Tatarstan a model of "peaceful coexistence of religions."

Tatarstan To Boost Support For Small Businesses
Tatarstan has won 281 million rubles ($9.8 million), the biggest single sum among Russian entities, in a federal competition for funds to support small businesses, "Kommersant-Volga-Urals" reported on 1 September. A total of 1.5 billion rubles was allocated from the federal budget through the tender. The funds should help establish a new fund to boost small businesses, support export-oriented business structures, and develop three republican high-tech parks. Under the terms of the competition, the republic must allocate matching sums from its budget for the winning projects and to attract private investment in them. Fifty federation entities took part in the competition.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Bashkir Interior Minister Keeps Post
Bashkir Interior Minister Rafail Divaev was reprimanded but will keep his position after a 31 August hearing in the Russian Interior Ministry, Regnum reported on 1 September, citing a source in Bashkortostan's Interior Ministry. The hearing was held after Russian Deputy Prosecutor-General in the Volga Federal District Sergei Gerasimov appealed to Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev to discipline Divaev for failing to perform his duties, which supposedly resulted in mass violations of the law and the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens. On 14 September, hearings will begin in the Blagoveshchensk city court in the case against eight Interior Ministry employees who took part in the December Blagoveshchensk operation in which hundreds of residents were illegally detained and beaten.

Prosecutors Fight Environmental Violations
Bashkortostan's prosecutor's office has filed a criminal case against Tuimazy administration head Rim Khemzin and head of the Nikolaevskii Village Council municipal entity Reis Bazgetdinov for violating environmental-protection legislation, RosBalt reported on 31 August. The officials are accused of illegally allowing 10 plots of land in a protected area to be used for private construction. A prosecutor's office inspection has also revealed that several leisure facilities have been constructed in protected areas.

Ufa Student Evacuated From New Orleans After Katrina Hurricane
Sergei Valeev, a student and resident of Ufa, was evacuated from New Orleans on 31 August after Hurricane Katrina struck the city on 29 August, Regnum reported on 1 September, citing the press service of Russia's Embassy to the United States. Two more Russian students, Chally resident Yevgeniya Yaroslavleva and Yekaterina Pyleva from Chavashia's Cheboksary, were also evacuated on 31 August from New Orleans to Baton-Rouge.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova