Chechen rebels sentence Zakayev to death

Anzor AstermirovChechen rebels called for Akhmed Zakayev, former foreign minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, to be killed, saying he had abandoned Islam by recognising the legitimacy of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed regime, Islamist rebel website Islam Din reported.

The “Supreme Sharia Court” led by Anzor Astemirov ruled that Zakayev was an “apostate” and had abandoned Islam by “adhering to a democratic religion, calling for secularism, and preferring laws established by man to Allah’s Sharia.” Therefore killing Zakayev was the duty of every Muslim.

Earlier, Zakayev met with representatives of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow dictator, Ramzan Kadyrov, and announced his recognition of the legitimacy of and readiness to cooperate with the regime in Grozny. Speaking in an interview with BBC, Zakayev praised the actions of Ramzan Kadyrov.

Zakayev fought in the First Chechen War against invading Russian forces. He took part in the Khasav-Yurt peace talks and was then appointed Deputy Prime Minister. Soon after the start of the Second Chechen War, Zakayev fled to London, acting as an official envoy of Chechen separatists.

Russia has demanded that Britain extradite Zakayev for alleged participation in kidnapping and murder. A British court rejected Russia’s request in 2003, however. Ramzan Kadyrov has called for Moscow to drop its charges against Zakayev, and has said he would welcome his return.

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