Monday, 30 April 2012

Chechen lawyer flees Russia after threats

Chechen lawyer Dagir Khasavov fled Russia after receiving death threats following his calls for Sharia law to be introduced in the country. The Russian Political Immigrants society announced on Friday that he swiftly left the country, The lawyer left for “a European country” after receiving threats. His son, Arlsan Khasavov, wrote in his blog that his father was provoked, possibly by Chechen authorities, to make him a “ritual sacrifice” before the inauguration. Khasanov gave an interview to Ren TV on April 24, where he said that Muslims in Russia do not want to go to secular courts and Russia must use Sharia law. “Muslims do not want to get involved in the multilayered court system, it is alien to them. You think that we come here to Russia like to some alien place. But we think that we are at home. Maybe you are alien, and we are at home. And we will set the rules, the rules that suit us, whether you want it or not. Any attempts to change it will end in blood, it will be the second Dead Sea. We will flood the city with blood.” Khasavov told Interfax on Wednesday that his words were distorted. He said when he was talking about Sharia law, he meant inter-family cases, and not criminal. He also said he was not aware that the comments would be filmed by the crew. The Prosecutor’s Office saw the lawyer’s statement as extremist based on an investigation by The Russian Institute of Culture. Experts found that the speech was aimed at exciting hatred and animosity based on religion (Islam), and could be considered a call for extremist activity, a Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman told Interfax. The materials were sent to the Investigative Committee. Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor is also examining the interview. A number of organisations call for Khasavov’s lawyer credentials to be annulled. The All-Russia Officers of Russia public organisation asked the head of Moscow Bar Association, Genry Reznik, to start a disciplinary investigation and to deny Khasavov the status of attorney, Interfax reported. “The appeal notes in particular that such statements from a lawyer are damaging to the credibility of all Russian lawyers,” head of Officers of Russia, Anton Tsevtkov, told Interfax. “Khasavov, using the media as his platform, basically expressed threats of violence on a religious basis.” Reznik, however, replied that no action will be taken until the police examine the evidence.

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