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Daghestani Rights Activist Found Dead

The 42-year-old human rights activist Mustapa Abdurakhmanov has been found dead in Makhachkala, the capital of the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan. According to law enforcement sources, Abdurakhmanov was a member of an illegal armed formation and was killed during a police operation in the city's Sergokalinsky Raion.

Abdurakhmanov disappeared on October 29 when he left his home to pick up his children from school. His body turned up in a morgue the next day. Today, it was handed over to his relatives.

Activists with the NGO Daghestan Mothers For Human Rights, with which Abdurakhmanov worked, suspect that Abdurakhmanov was tortured to death. The NGO's leader, Svetlana Isayeva, said Abdurakhmanov's body bore wounds, fractures, and bruises. She believes he was abducted and beaten. After he died, his body was dumped at the site of a shootout a few days earlier in the Sergorkalinsky Raion.

Isayeva told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service that her organization plans to investigate the circumstances of Abdurkhmanov's death.

In recent years, Daghestan has increasingly been the scene of gunfights between security forces and illegal armed formations. The Russian authorities, as a rule, accuse Islamist insurgents and criminal groups of trying to destabilize the republic.

(by Magomedgadzhi Gasanov of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service)

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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