Valiullin's death: A tragic accident?13.07.2012 | 16:06
The lawyer Rustam Valiullin, known for celebrated cases relating to the Muslims of Russia, disappeared in the Altai Mountains in late June. Police said almost immediately that the lawyer has drowned in the Katun river, but there was no evidence of his death. Valiullin's disappearance caused lots of different versions, up to the murder. July 3, it was reported that his body had been found 30 kilometers from Katun. The investigation has not commented this fact so far. What could have happened to a lawyer known for his human rights work? GTimes has interviewed experts on this occasion.
Heydar Jemal, chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia.
"I've heard about his death, which was not confirmed as fact. Unfortunately I know nothing about the circumstances. Undoubtedly, such cases always seem ambivalent. Mountains are mountains, and I have been in the mountains in very dangerous situations. Mountains are ideal place for unfair play. During unfair play in the mountains, it costs nothing to present the elimination of a man as an accident. In the mountains, and in particular in the Altai Mountains, you can depart this life at any stage: crossing mountain river, the rise or descent. It all depends on what did Rustam Valiullin did there. I'll tell you: even the most lightweight version of mountain tourism creates a lot of tense situations. If there is unfair play, then real professionals acted there. Therefore it's very difficult to prove anything".
Rais Suleymanov, the head of the Volga Center for Regional and Ethno-Religious studies.
"Now they present Rustam Valiullin as a man who defended the rights of Russian Muslims. But they do not clarify one thing: whom exactly he was defending. And he defended Muslims convicted of extremism: Hizbutchiks, Wahhabis, Salafists. He worked in Izhevsk, in the so-called Prikamsky human rights center established under the auspices of the well-known Helsinki Group.
His defendants were mostly the activists of "Hizb-ut-Tahrir" from Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Orenburg. In recent years, "Hizbutchiks" became more active there, and they need a human rights figure whom the Russian authorities have allegedly deliberately eliminated because he had interfered with Russia in its supposedly anti-Islamic activity. In reality, after his death the Mufti of Altai has publicly stated that Valiullin had not been killed. The lawyer leally came to Altai, went to Katun to swim and drowned. But then the Mufti of Altai suddenly changed its position. Then he began to argue that the allegedly FSB has specially arranged things so that Valiullin drowned while on holiday in the Katun.
Rustam Valiullin defended extremists. They say sometimes he even worked for free. He called himself a lawyer of Muslims. At the same time, sometimes Valiullin acted rightly. For example, as a lawyer he protested against the fact that a number of books belonging to the Sunnah were equated to really extremist literature, forbidden in Russia. He rightly criticized many experts, nominated as specialists in Islamic literature. In fact, according to the media, he went to the Altai region after the sensational process in Orenburg, where he had represented the interests of the Muslim publisher Aslanbek Ezhaev. Those people who are promoting the killed lawyer as a "sacrifice", they connect this accident with this trial. In Orenburg they wanted to ban a few books that were part of the Sunnah. Examination has listed them in the forbidden literature by mistake, then they apologized for a long time, but the Muslims of Russia are still displeased on this occasion.
According to these Muslims, an accident with Valiullin really looks very strange. I can add the following. Valiullin himself initiated lawsuits against experts who sounded the alarm about the "Hizb-ut-Tahrir" and Wahhabism. For example, in Tatarstan, Valiullin wanted to bring a case against Yana Amelina, who had allegedly insulted the feelings of Muslims. He involved some of the old Tatar women from Nizhnekamsk, who testified against Amelina, but already at the first stage the investigation turned down the whole process, since there was no corpus delicti".