Staunton, August 21 – The authorities in Ingushetia have forced Ayup Gagiyev, chairman of the Ingush Constitutional Court, to withdraw his candidacy for the Duma by declaring that if he doesn’t, they would bring legal charges against him for failing to list a piece of unused property he owns.
Both Ingush residents who posted their reaction to this step online and opposition leaders who spoke with Fortanga about it said they were certain the charge was simply a formality to achieve what the powers wanted -- the elimination of a serious opposition candidate from the election (fortanga.org/2021/08/eksperty-izbirkom-nashel-formalnuyu-prichinu-chtoby-ne-dopustit-na-vybory-ayupa-gagieva/).
At the same time, the Magas office for the Center for Countering Extremism called in Magomed Khabiyev of the republic’s Civic Initiative organization to question him about his efforts to promote the cause of residents who are suffering from pollution and clashes with Chechens (fortanga.org/2021/08/magomed-hazbiev-otkazalsya-otvechat-na-voprosy-czpe-ingushetii/).
Citing his rights under the Russian Federation Constitution, he refused to answer their questions, telling journalists subsequently that he was certain this was an effort to intimidate him and those working with him and that neither he nor they were going to be silenced by such threats.
Meanwhile, a judge in Saratov refused to change the punishments handed down to five people from Chechnya and Ingushetia who clashed earlier. Lawyers for the Ingush defendants said that those who knew that the charges were fake were now afraid to testify lest the authorities come after them (fortanga.org/2021/08/advokaty-vyhodczev-iz-chechni-i-ingushetii-dobivayutsya-goszashhity-dlya-svidetelej-draki-v-saratove/).
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