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Predicted Death of Tsez (Dido) Citizen

11.02.2011

Salome Achba

Death of Russian citizen Mahomed Gamzatov left many questions. On February 5, he was found dead. The expertise showed that he was poisoned. His family members allege Gamzatov did not have health problems. So, there are grounded doubts that his death has direct connection with his controversy with the Russian Government; that means he was poisoned.

Mahomed Gamzatov was member of North Caucasus ethnic minority – Tsez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsez_people). At the end of 2010 he arrived in Tbilisi and met local governmental officials and public figures. He shared very unexpected and scandalous idea with them – part of Dagestan – Tsez – shall be separated from the Russian Federation and join Georgia because the Tsez nation might completely disappear within the Russian Federation.

The government-controlled national TV-Channels immediately reported about Gamzatov’s visit in Georgia. The guest had brought appeal with 14 000 signatures to Georgia. He requested Georgia protection of Tsez people and assistance in the maintenance of their originality.

Russia had sharply negative reaction on Mahomed Gamzatov’s visit in Georgia and his statements there. Of course, Russian Security Service knew that Gamzatov struggled for the rights of Tsez people for many years. He many times petitioned Federal Authority of Russia and Government of Dagestan Republic to protect social-economical and cultural rights and originality of Tsez people. However, nobody cared about this problem in Russia – his petitions were always neglected.

Gamzatov’s last hope was the support of the government of Georgia to attract the attention of international organizations. During the visit he met Nugzar Tsiklauri - chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Compatriots Living Abroad and other Georgian MPs. The parliament of Georgia promised him assistance in publishing of mother-tongue and grammar text-books for Tsez people and in the resolution of other problems in scientific-cultural field.

If before nobody cared about Tsez citizen’s requests and petitions, his visit in Georgia caused serious resonance in Russian media.

“Gamzatov did not live in Tsunti district and he did not have right to make similar statements. The district population did not know that Gamzatov appealed to Georgia in their names,” said Minister of National Issues of Dagestan Bekmuraz Bekmurazov in his interview with the Kavkazki Uzel (Caucasus Knot).

Expert Mamuka Areshidze told the humanrights.ge that after his visit in Georgia Gamzatov tried to arrive in the Dagestan villages where he had collected signatures but local governors did not allow him into the villages.

Georgian media also actively broadcasted about Gamzatov’s visit in Georgia. This fact was extremely politicized in the view of Russian-Georgian conflict. So, at some point, the government of Georgia is also morally responsible for the death of Tsez man. It was already clear that in Russia Gamzatov was in danger after his visit in Georgia. Despite that he did not think of self-protection at all.

The member of the parliamentary majority Nugzar Tsiklauri told the Human Rights Center that Georgian side could not give security guarantees to Tsez citizen. “Georgian jurisdiction does not work in Russia. We responded to the legal request of Gamzatov about improvement of social, economic and cultural conditions of Tsez people. It would be very good if Georgia could eradicate those facts of human rights violations that happen in Russia but it is beyond our power.”

“Mahomed Gamzatov should have been aware about the danger and should have been ready for negative results of his visit in Georgia. It is interesting that in Russia Gamzatov justified himself by claiming that his visit in Tbilisi was not political one. He verified his claiming by his meetings with local public figures and scientists who promised him to resolve educational and other problems. The government of Georgia made his visit in Georgia extremely political and Gamzatov also said it; in fact it was not true,” Mamuka Areshidze told humanrights.ge.

Part of MPs has already petitioned to several international organizations to study Mahomed Gamzatov’s case and monitor the investigation process.

Nugzar Tsiklauri, member of the parliamentary majority: “”All questions about the death of Gamzatov shall be answered and every secret shall be unclosed. It can be guaranteed only by the support of impartial and unbiased international organizations. Everybody knows that in Russia people might be killed for their struggle for their rights, mother-tongue and culture or for their struggle for the better future of their children. Thus, most Georgian MPs decided to appeal to international organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Georgian MPs request the human rights defenders to monitor the investigation process of Gamzatov’s case.”

It is unclear whether international organizations take up Gamzatov’s case or not. The society was not informed about the conclusion of expertise yet. However, despite any conclusions, very few doubt that Gamzatov’s death resulted from his public activities.

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