Ingushetia protests over journalist's shooting in custody

Local police said he was shot "by accident" when he tried to grab a police officer's gun.

Ingushetia protests over journalist's shooting in custody

More than 1,000 people gathered in Ingushetia on Monday to protest the death of Magomed Yevloyev, a leading journalist and local opposition leader shot while in Russian police custody.

Yevloyev, owner of opposition Internet site www.ingushetiya.ru, is the most high-profile Russian journalist to be killed since investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya was shot outside her Moscow apartment in October 2006.

Local police said he was shot "by accident" when he tried to grab a police officer's gun, but his supporters and human rights groups said they did not believe that version of events.

Yevloyev had frequently clashed with Ingushetia's Kremlin-backed leader Murat Zyazikov, and his Internet site was the subject of official attempts to close it down.

A Reuters reporter in Ingushetia's biggest city Nazran said protesters had gathered in a central square around a truck which was carrying Yevloyev's coffin.

"This demonstration will continue until President Zyazikov and Interior Minister Mussa Medov leave their posts," one of the protest organisers, Magomed Khazbiyev, told Reuters.

Ingushetia is a Muslim region in a Caucasus region.

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based group which campaigns for media freedom, said the explanations given by the Ingush authorities for Yevloyev's death made no sense.

"We are outraged by the death of Yevloyev, who demonstrated his courage and determination by reporting independent news in Ingushetia, although he and his family were harassed and threatened," it said. "His death must not go unpunished."

Russian prosecutors said they had started a criminal investigation under article 109 of the Russian criminal code: causing death through carelessness.

"On August 31 at 14:00 (1000 GMT) officials from the Ingush Interior Ministry were conveying Magomed Yevloyev from Magas airport to Nazran in an official vehicle," a ministry spokeswoman said, reading from a statement.

"Yevloyev attempted to grab the weapon of one of the officers accompanying him. As a result the unidentified officer inflicted a penetrating gunshot wound to Yevloyev's head."

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Eylül 2008, 11:21
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