Friday, October 13, 2006

A Strange Democracy

A voice of truth speaks its last: in Chechnya, the misery goes on - World - Times Online

Read this entire article at:
HER campaigning journalism cost Anna Politkovskaya her life; she was shot in her apartment building as she prepared to publish another expos√© on alleged atrocities committed by Russian authorities in Chechnya.  Her Moscow newspaper yesterday defied the hitmen by publishing Ms Politkovskaya's final, unfinished, article and pledged to continue her crusade.

The article in Novaya Gazeta detailed evidence of torture on civilians by police in Chechnya, including stills from a video showing assaults on two unidentified victims.

One man said that he was beaten, given electric shocks and almost suffocated in a Chechen government office until he confessed to murders he did not commit.  The article reproduced a letter from a Chechen man called Beslan Gadayev, who writes that he was extradited from Ukraine and handed over to law enforcement officers in the Chechen capital, Grozny.  "I swore I had killed no one," the letter read.

Mr Gadayev wrote that he was punched twice in the face then handcuffed and suspended from a length of pipe between two filing cabinets in an investigator's office.  "They attached wires to my little fingers. Seconds later they started to give me electric shocks and at the same time beat me with rubber truncheons," he said.  "I do not know how long this went on for."

The report said that Mr Gadayev confessed soon afterwards to taking part in an armed attack on police and is now in prison awaiting trial.

Ms Politkovskaya, who was 48, wrote: "When prosecutors and judges work not for the law and punishment of the guilty, but on political orders and in pursuit of anti-terrorist aims that are pleasing to the Kremlin, then criminal cases multiply like hot cakes."

Her murder has been one of a series of high-profile contract killings in the past month and has coincided with a campaign of official persecution against Georgians living in Russia in a row over spying.

Opponents of President Putin fear that dangerous emotions are being stirred up before a key election period that will determine who succeeds him in the Kremlin in 2008.. Putin's regime is seen in the West as a strange democracy, a Russian-style democracy.



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