The U.S. State Department's annual Human Rights Defenders Award has been given posthumously to Ingushetian human rights activist Maksharip Aushev.
Aushev, the owner of the opposition website ingushetia.ru, was shot dead in his car
by unknown assailants near Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, on October 25. He was 43 years old.
His website actively reported about killings, kidnappings, and human rights violations in Russia's volatile North Caucasus.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement on December 9 that Aushev "bravely continued to train a spotlight on abductions, torture, killings, and other serious human rights abuses in Russia's North Caucasus, even after one of the website's previous owners was killed in police custody in 2008."
One of the leaders of the Ingushetian opposition, Magomet Khazbiev, talked to RFE/RL's Russian Service and praised Aushev for his bravery and courage.
The Human Rights Defenders Award is given each year to individuals and nongovernmental organizations for "individuals or nongovernmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression."
The award will be formally presented at a ceremony early next year.
Today is International Human Rights Day.