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Bloggers Seek Justice in Dagestan Rape Case

In September 2010, thirteen-year-old Zalina was walking home from school when she was kidnapped, held against her will for three days and gang raped by a group of teenagers.

Police arrested three of the four attackers that Zalina identified, but it looks like their lawyers will be able to prove that the evidence against them is inconclusive.

The incident sparked what has been dubbed 'The First Blogosphere War.' In February, Dagestani journalist Nariman Gadzhiyev urged readers of his blog to spread the word. His story which was read by 50,000 people in just a few days. Shortly thereafter, blogger nurlan_aliev's appeal to Dagestani authorities became one of the top ten most read blog entries in the North Caucasus blogosphere, according to Kavkaz-Uzel.

The story snowballed; this week it was featured on Echo Moskvy radio's blog. Both children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov and Dagestani President Magomedsalam Magomedov vowed to take the case under their personal control.

The future will show whether Magomedov, who was appointed only last year, can actually live up to his promise. In late March, Zalina's lawyer told blogger maggommedoff that despite all the surrounding the case, Zalina is most likely going to lose.

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