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26 Oct, 2009 14:58

Human rights activist killed

Investigators are reviewing five motives for the murder of a prominent opposition figure and businessman in Russia's Republic of Ingushetia. Maksharip Aushev was shot dead on Sunday as he was driving his car.

“Firstly, we are looking thoroughly into Aushev's public activities. And secondly, the murder could be connected to his business dealings,” said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigations Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Other possibilities include Aushev’s possible criminal links, or his dealings with the republic’s opposition and revenge from their side. Finally, the man could have been killed over an alleged love affair.

Maksharip Aushev had been running an opposition website – insushetia.org – which was a harsh critic of the republic's former president.

His murder case is now under the supervision of Russia's Prosecutor General.

Aushev was at the wheel of his car, driving on the highway to the city of Nalchik in Russia's republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, when the occupants of another car opened fire. He died on the spot and a woman who was accompanying him has been taken to hospital.

Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov – who was injured in a suicide bomb attack in June this year – said every effort would be made to find and punish the criminals. He also pledged to do everything possible to secure peace and order in the republic, Yevkurov's spokesman told ITAR-TASS agency.

Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika is supervising the investigation into the killing.

A reward has been offered for information about the murderers.