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Doctors Without Borders must repay Holland for ransom: Swiss high court

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Switzerland [official website, in German] Monday ruled that Doctors without Borders (MSF) [advocacy website] must repay the Dutch government for its share of a ransom paid to secure the release of a MSF official. MSF's former Dagestan head was kidnapped in 2002 [MSF backgrounder], and his abductors demanded 1 million euros in ransom. The Dutch government contributed 770,000 euros to the aid worker's release, of which it said 270,000 euros was meant as a loan to MSF. MSF denied that the money was intended as a loan and refused repayment, instead seeking reimbursement from Holland for its share of the ransom. The court rejected MSF's claim for compensation. Ria Novosti has more. AP has additional coverage.

Dagestan has become an increasingly volatile region in recent years. Earlier this year, Russian prosecutors opened a murder investigation [JURIST report] into the death of journalist Ilyas Shurpayev [personal blog], a correspondent for Russia's state-run Channel One [media website, in Russian], who was found dead with stab wounds and a belt around his neck when firefighters responded to a fire, apparently set after the attack. Hours before his death, Shurpayev reportedly wrote a blog post complaining that he had been banned from writing columns for a newspaper in Dagestan and proclaiming, "I am now a dissident." The same day, the head of Dagestan's state TV and radio company Gadzhi Abashilov was killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car. Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika [official website, in Russian] said he would take "personal" charge of the Abashilov investigation.

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