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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawmakers in Chechnya Vow To Work Despite Islamic Law

GROZNY -- Lawmakers in Chechnya said they would resist President Aslan Maskhadov's order to disband parliament and introduce Islamic law in the breakaway republic, a news agency reported Monday.

Several parliament members appeared on state television Sunday to blast Maskhadov's order as a direct breach of Chechnya's constitution, which calls for a secular state.

"President Maskhadov has removed the people from governing the state," Isa Idigov, the head of the foreign affairs committee said, Itar-Tass reported.

Maskhadov's action was seen as a victory for his hard-line foes, who have sought to establish Islamic law in Chechnya since the republic won de-facto independence from Russia in a 1994-96 war.

The parliament was to convene Tuesday to continue debate on Maskhadov's decision. It has said that it will not stop working despite the presidential order revoking its legislative powers.

Maskhadov defended his decision on Monday, saying he had to introduce Islamic law because of conflict within the government. He did not elaborate.

Still, he promised to ensure order, independence and religious freedom in Chechnya, and said an agreement with parliament would be worked out.

"I am not surprised by the reaction of my opponents, but I think that mutual understanding will be found," he said.

Meanwhile, a prominent warlord who has called for Maskhadov' ouster, announced Sunday that he was disbanding his Marshana Toba (Freedom Party) because the introduction of Islamic law, or Shariah, made it irrelevant.

"The main goal of the party was attained after Shariah rule was imposed in the republic," Shamil Basayev said on television.

Under an Islamic constitution, Chechnya would fully embrace Islamic law, including the practice of stoning adulterers, beating drug users and alcoholics and severing the hands of thieves.