MOSCOW (Reuters) - A policeman in Russia’s turbulent Ingushetia region was sentenced on Friday to two years in a low-security prison settlement for “unintentionally” shooting dead a prominent opposition reporter while in custody.
Magomed Yevloyev, editor of Ingushetia’s main opposition news Website, was killed by a pistol shot to the head after being detained at the local airport on Aug 31, 2008.
His death sparked massive protests against the local authorities in the mainly Muslim region, which has suffered a wave of attacks in recent months.
Local leaders say the insurgency along Russia’s southern flank is being fuelled by a potent mixture of clan feuds, poverty, militant Islamism and heavy-handed tactics by law enforcement agencies.
The presiding judge said policeman Ibragim Yevloyev, who also served as the local interior minister’s chief bodyguard, had committed involuntary manslaughter, Interfax news agency reported. The two men were not related.
The www.ingushetia.org Website said the judge had described the killing as “unintentional,” echoing similar statements by prosecutors. Opposition leaders have repeatedly said Yevloyev was murdered.
Interfax news agency quoted Yevloyev’s father, Yakhya, as saying he disagreed with the sentence.
“This was not an unintentional murder, it was a deliberate, well-prepared and well-organised murder,” he said. Itar-Tass news agency quoted defence lawyers as saying they would appeal against the sentence.
Writing by Oleg Shchedrov; editing by Ralph Boulton