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Chechen Activist's Killing 'Not Connected To Her Work'

Zarema Sadulayeva headed a charity for victims of the Chechen wars in Grozny.
Zarema Sadulayeva headed a charity for victims of the Chechen wars in Grozny.
Prosecutors in Chechnya say the killing of a prominent human rights activist in August was not connected to her work, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The bullet-ridden bodies of Zarema Sadulayeva and her husband, Alik Dzhabrailov, were found in the trunk of their car hours after the couple was abducted in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Viktor Ledenev, chief of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor-General's Office in Chechnya, said the target of the attack was Dzhabrailov.

He said the investigators had evidence showing that Sadulayeva had not wanted to leave her husband alone and chose to stay with him.

Ledenev also said Dzhabrailov had once fought against Russian federal troops before deciding to quit the insurgency.

Ledenev said the killing might have been an act of revenge by insurgents or relatives of Dzhabrailov's possible victims from his time as a separatist fighter.

Human rights activists have criticized Ledenev's comments.

Aleksandr Cherkasov of the Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center told RFE/RL's Russian Service that Ledenev's statement did not give any additional details.

Cherkasov said everybody knew that Sadulayeva was kidnapped together with her husband.

"Does it mean that Russia's officials consider it normal that 'death squads' are operating in Chechnya?" he asked.

According to Cherkasov, Ledenev's statement confirms the existence of "an organized system of impunity in the country."