Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally a literary scholar, he served as vice-president of the self-proclaimed republic from 1991 and became president in April 1996, following the assassination of his predecessor Dzhokhar Dudayev (an act generally blamed on Russia or infighting among Chechen separatists). In late May 1996, Yanderbiyev headed a Chechen delegation that met Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for peace talks that resulted in the signature of a ceasefire agreement on May 27. He stood in elections held in Chechnya in February 1997 but was defeated by Aslan Maskhadov, a senior military leader. The two men fell out badly the following year when Yanderbiyev was accused of being behind an assassination attempt against Maskhadov. In September 1998, Maskhadov publicly denounced Yanderbiyev, accusing him of importing the hardline Islamic philosophy of Wahhabism and of being responsible for "anti-state activities" including anti-government speeches and public meetings, as well as the organisation of illegal armed groups. Yanderbiyev subsequently joined forces with the hardline Islamist opposition to Maskhadov's rule.
Yanderbiyev was seen as a key figure behind the 1999 attack by Shamil Basayev's Islamist Chechen guerrillas on the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan. That led to the resumption of the Chechen war in late 1999, following which Yanderbiyev travelled abroad to Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and eventually settled in Qatar in 2001, where he sought to obtain Muslim support for the Chechen cause. This became a cause of considerable friction between Russia and Qatar, which refused to extradite Yanderbiyev despite an Interpol arrest warrant issued in 2001. He was mentioned on a United Nations list of groups and people with suspected links to the al-Qaeda organisation and is said to have had contacts with the Taleban movement in Afghanistan (there was a separatist Chechen Embassy in Kabul until the overthrow of the Taleban in 2001). He was believed to have been a key figure in the international network of Chechen separatist fundraisers in the Islamic world. He was also accused of involvement in the October 2002 Moscow Theatre Siege, in which around 120 hostages and guerrillas were killed.
On February 13, 2004, Yanderbiyev was assassinated in a car bomb explosion in the Qatari capital, Doha. Two of his bodyguards were killed as well and his 12-year-old son was seriously injured. It was unclear who was responsible for the blast, but suspicion fell on Russia's intelligence services, who denied any involvement, and internal feuding among the Chechen rebel leadership. Maskhadov's separatist Foreign Ministry condemned the assassination as a "Russian terrorist attack", comparing it to the attack that killed Dudayev.
The car bomb led to Qatar's first anti-terrorism law, declaring lethal "terrorist acts" punishable by death or life imprisonment. On February 19 the Qatari authorities arrested three Russians in the Russian embassy villa for the murders. One was released due to his diplomatic status and the remaining two, Anatoly Yablochkov (Анатолий Яблочков) and Vasili Bogacheov (Василий Богачёв), were charged. According to Moscow, they were secret intelligence agents sent to the Russian Embassy in Doha to collect information about global terrorism.
The trial proceedings were closed to the public after the defendants claimed that one of the prosecution witnesses, the Qatari Colonel Dawi or Dawdi, had tortured them in the first days after their arrest, when they had been held incommunicado. The two Russians alleged that they had suffered beatings, sleep deprivation and attacks by guard dogs. The defendants showed the presiding judge, Ibrahim al-Nisf, dog bites on their bodies and the defense asked that their clients be examined and evaluated by a Western doctor. This request was denied by the judge on the grounds that since the dog bites were clearly visible, no medical examination was needed. Russia used these torture allegations and the fact that the two officers were arested within an extraterritorial compound belonging to the Embassy (i.e. effectively on Russian soil) to demand the immediate release of her citizens. On June 30, 2004 both Russians were sentenced to life imprisonment; passing the sentence, the judge stated that they had acted on orders from the Russian leadership. 
The verdict caused severe tensions between Qatar and Russia, and on December 23, 2004, Qatar agreed to extradite the prisoners to Russia, where they would serve out their life sentence. The agents received a hero's welcome on returning to Moscow in January 2005 but disappeared from public view shortly afterwards. The Russian prison authorities admitted in February 2005 that they were not in a jail, but said that a sentence handed down in Qatar was irrelevant in Russia. 
- Russia to demand Yandarbiyev's extradition from Qatar - Pravda.ru
- Ex-Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev Was Assassinated in Car Explosion, Qatari Gov't Says – ABC News
- Russian agents to go on trial for murder – Al-Jazeera
- Qataris 'seek death' for Russians – BBC
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details