Almost six months after the August 31 death in police custody of Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the independent website ingushetia.org (formerly ingushetiya.ru), an Interior Ministry official has gone public with damning new evidence concerning the circumstances of that killing.
On February 14, the website quoted lawyer Musa Pliyev, who represents Yevloyev's family, as saying that in testimony to the commission established by the Republic of Ingushetia prosecutor's office to probe the circumstances of the murder, Interior Ministry investigator Djanbolat Shankhoyev said that the Interior Ministry warrant on the basis of which Ingushetian police detained Yevloyev for questioning shortly before he died was in fact drafted and signed only after Yevloyev's death.
Shankhoyev has reportedly explained in detail what happened in a public statement addressed to Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, whom Russian President Dmitry Medvedev named in late October to replace Murat Zyazikov, and to republican Prosecutor Yury Turygin, according to the Russian daily "Kommersant" on February 16, which quoted verbatim extracts from that statement.
Shankhoyev describes how on the day of Yevloyev's death (a Sunday), he was summoned to police headquarters in Nazran and ordered by his boss, Akhmed Kotiyev, to draft an official order to detain Yevloyev as a witness in a criminal case. Shankhoyev reluctantly complied with that request and signed the document, then returned home. But he later learned that at the time he was drafting the document in question, Yevloyev was already dead. When he later asked his superiors for an explanation, he was told to "keep your mouth shut."
Yevloyev, who lived in Moscow, flew to Nazran on the morning of August 31 on the same plane as Zyazikov, with whom, according to unconfirmed reports, he had a heated altercation. When the plane landed and Yevloyev disembarked, he was detained by Interior Ministry personnel, allegedly on the basis of the order that he be summoned for questioning as a witness. He died soon after
from a single bullet wound to the head that police claimed was the result of a tussle between Yevloyev and a police officer.
On January 30, Ingushetia's Supreme Court ruled that Yevloyev's detention by members of then-Ingushetian Interior Minister Musa Medov's personal guard was illegal. The police officer identified as having fired the shot that killed Yevloyev left Ingushetia for Moscow on January 14. Pliyev told ingushetia.org on February 15 that on the basis of Shankhoyev's testimony, Kotiyev and Medov should both be required to answer before the law for their role in Yevloyev's death, which the inquest ruled was "death by misadventure." "Kommersant" on February 16 quoted Kotiyev as denying that he forced Shankhoyev to issue the fatal warrant, and as dismissing his allegations as "ravings."