Hundreds Remember Slain Web Site Owner

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Ingushetia on Monday to commemorate owner of the embattled opposition web site Ingushetiya.ru, who was killed by local police a day earlier and whose relatives swore revenge.

The mourners gathered in Ingushetia's main city, Nazran, to protest the shooting death of Magomed Yevloyev, who was buried Monday.

"All of them are expressing their discontent with what is happening in the republic," Kaloi Akhilgov, Yevloyev's lawyer and friend, said by telephone.

Akhilgov said some 3,000 people turned out to protest, while Interfax put the number at 500. A Reuters reporter said there were more than 1,000.

Yevloyev's relatives, meanwhile, vowed to avenge his death and declared a blood feud against Ingush President Murat Zyazikov and Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov, Akhilgov said.

"According to Ingush traditions, a blood feud calls for the murder of a male member of Zyazikov's and Medov's families," Akhilgov said.

The Ingush opposition has accused Zyazikov and the Kremlin of being behind Yevloyev's murder.

Yevloyev was detained at the Magas Airport outside Nazran on Sunday as he stepped off a plane from Moscow and placed into a police car, according to witnesses and authorities.

Regional Prosecutor Yury Turygin repeated the subsequent version of events provided by local police, telling Interfax on Monday that while being taken in for questioning, Yevloyev attempted to seize an automatic weapon from one of the police officers.

Yevloyev was struck in the head by a bullet accidentally discharged in the scuffle, and he subsequently died in the hospital from the wound, Turygin said.

Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Monday that Yevloyev's death had formally been classified as manslaughter and that a criminal case had been opened.

But Roza Malsagova, the editor-in-chief of Ingushetiya.ru who has fled Russia with her three sons and applied for political asylum in France, implicated Zyazikov in Yevloyev's death, accusing him of ordering "another extrajudicial killing." "This is how you wanted to silence us," Malsagova said in an open letter to Zyazikov posted on the web site.

A spokesman for Zyazikov, Bers Yevloyev, dismissed the opposition's accusations as "total gibberish" and said he could not comment on Malsagova's accusations because they had appeared on a "nonexistent web site" that "was shut down by a court order."

Last month the Moscow City Court upheld a lower court's decision in June to close Ingushetiya.ru on charges of carrying extremist content.

Vasily Likhachyov, a Federation Council Senator for Ingushetia, confirmed that Zyazikov and Yevloyev had taken the same flight from Moscow to Nazran on Sunday but dismissed suggestions that the two had quarreled.

"The president of Ingushetia is a modern person who understands perfectly that in a democracy you can't live without criticism," Likhachyov said, adding that he had spoken with Zyazikov on Monday.