Chechen leader denies political oppression

GROZNY, Russia, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Chechnya's leader is denying allegations that he has created a dangerous atmosphere for opponents of his Russian Federation regime.

Ramzan Kadyrov told Radio Free Europe that Western human rights groups have been spreading false information linking him to abductions and even killings of political critics, including the July slaying of Russian human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in Grozny.


"They're very good lawyers," Kadyrov said in the interview aired Monday. "But if they say that Kadyrov or his people are to blame, let them prove it. Why would Kadyrov kill women that no one needs?"

Kadyrov said a full investigation into the Estemirova case was under way and there was no need for the involvement of investigators from outside Chechnya.

Kadyrov also denied the idea that Islamic sharia law was being introduced in Chechnya. He said that while the rights of Muslims and Christians were being protected, Russian Federation law was the law of the land.

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