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Reports Of Torture Trigger Protests In Daghestan

MAKHACHKALA, Daghestan -- Police today began detaining the leaders of people protesting the reported torture of five murder suspects in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Between 500-1,000 people participated in a 17-hour demonstration in Makhachkala on March 1 to protest reports that five suspects in the June 2009 murder of Daghestan's interior minister, Lieutenant General Adilgirey Magomedtagirov, were subjected to torture so that they would confess to the murder.

The protesters dispersed after Gadzhi Makhachev, Daghestan's representative in the Russian government, assured them he would look into the reports and ensure that the men were not mistreated.

But the demonstration resumed early today.

Vladimir Markin, an investigator in the Russian Prosecutor-General's Office, denied on March 1 that the detained men were being mistreated during the investigation.

Islamic militants in Daghestan have posted a video on the Internet showing a sniper shooting Magomedtagirov as he left a Makhachkala restaurant after a wedding party.