Russia judge killed by gunmen in Ingushetia province

Russia judge killed by gunmen in Ingushetia province

[JURIST] Aza Gazgireyeva, deputy head of the Supreme Court in Russia's Ingushetia province [official website, in Russian; BBC backgrounder] was shot dead Wednesday while taking her children to school in the town of Nazran, according to a regional interior ministry spokesman quoted by Russian media. Four others also sustained injuries [RIA Novosti report]. Ingushetia President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said that her suspected killers have been identified [ITAR-TASS report] and will be apprehended within the next two days. It is believed that Gazgireyeva may have been killed for her role in investigating an attack [RTTNews report] on Ingush police forces by Chechen militants in 2004. Gazgireyeva's death comes shortly after the interior minister of the nearby region of Dagestan was shot dead [BBC report] last week.

In recent months, Ingushetia [JURIST news archive] has seen an upsurge of violence, particularly targeted towards police and the military. Local authorities blame Muslim rebels from both Ingushetia and neighboring Chechnya [JURIST news archive], but government opponents blame increasingly harsh policing tactics including the alleged abductions, beatings, and even killings [advocacy report, PDF] of suspected militants. Last June, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that Russian police have committed serious rights abuses against suspected rebel militants from Ingushetia, including abductions, torture, and killings. In April 2008, another deputy head of the Supreme Court in Ingushetia, Khasan Yandiyev, was shot and killed [JURIST report].