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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Rights Activist Found Dead

Human rights group Spravedlivost said Wednesday that the director of its Karelia region branch, Andrei Kulagin, was found killed in a sand pit outside Petrozavodsk, after he disappeared in May.

The group said in a statement on its web site that there was “no doubt” that Kulagin was murdered. He left his building late May 14 after someone called and requested an urgent meeting, and he was last seen alive by a taxi driver who dropped him off at a cafe, the statement said.

A local law enforcement source confirmed to Interfax that it was Kulagin’s body but said they had “no official information” of his human rights activities. (MT)

Turkmen Chief Operates

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov showed off his medical skills by operating on a patient at a newly built cancer center, state news agency Turkmen Khabarlary reported Wednesday.

Berdymukhammedov, who trained as a dentist and worked as the country’s health minister, wielded the knife on a man suffering from a lipoma, a benign tumor, on Tuesday. The Turkmen leader is not trained as a surgeon.

Berdymukhammedov, 52, has previously displayed his hands-on style by driving a tank and writing a book on horse riding. (Reuters)

Sailors Freed in Nigeria

Two Russian seamen captured off the coast of Nigeria earlier this month have been released, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday.

Alexander Polyakov, Russia’s ambassador to Nigeria, said details of the event would be released later. The sailors traveled to Nigeria on a Singapore-owned ship, which was boarded by a group of armed men July 4. Six crew members were kidnapped, of whom two — captain Yury Shastin and Viktor Koshevoi — were Russian citizens from the Krasnodar region. (MT)

Armenia’s Afghan Troops

YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenia will send forces to Afghanistan by the end of the year, possibly including some who fought there in the 1980s, Defense Minister Seyran Oganyan said Tuesday.

He did not say how many troops would be sent. Officials have said Armenia would likely send munitions experts and communications officers.

Oganyan said some Armenians who fought in the Soviet Union’s unsuccessful 1980s war in Afghanistan want to return as part of the new force. (AP)

UN to Censure Azerbaijan

GENEVA — United Nations experts are set to censure Azerbaijan over its human rights record after suggesting that it was in denial over violations of global rights pacts, officials and diplomats said Wednesday.

They said the critique, which could be harsh, was likely to be formulated in recommendations to the government in Baku on what it should do to clean up its act. It would be issued July 31 by the UN’s watchdog Human Rights Committee. (Reuters)