ANKARA, Nov. 5 -- Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov says the rebellious Russian republic has proclaimed itself the Chechen Islamic Republic. Maskhadov, who is in Antalya, Turkey, on a visit, says Chechnya will now be governed by the laws of Islam.
The Chechen leader previously said Chechnya would be renamed the republic of Ichkeria. It is not clear if that name has been dropped. Chechnya has already introduced Islamic courts and at least four people have been sentenced to death for crimes under Sharia law. Russian President Boris Yeltsin says the executions under Islamic law are 'barbaric' and 'a throwback to the Middle Ages.' Chechnya, which has claimed it is an independent republic, has not been recognized by any country in the world. The republic continues to be part of the Russian Federation after a 21-month war for independence ended in a peace treaty and a pull-out of Russian forces. In Moscow, there was no immediate reaction to the announcement. ---
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