Second Dagestani Judge Killed This Year

A senior Dagestani judge and his son died Wednesday night of wounds sustained in a shooting carried out by two unidentified men earlier that day.

At least two attackers fired shots at Dagestani Supreme Court judge Mukhtar Shapiyev and his son Kamil in the entrance of an apartment building in Makhachkala, the capital of the volatile North Caucasus republic, RIA Novosti reported, citing regional investigators.

Shapiyev and his son died of their injuries at a regional hospital.

Regional investigators have opened a criminal case against the perpetrators on charges of possession of illegal firearms and an attempt on the life of a person administering justice, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The authorities suspect the attack to be connected to Shapiyev's work but have not disclosed details of the perpetrators' motives.

Investigators found 43 shell casings at the scene, the Kavkazsky Uzel, or Caucasian Knot, news agency, which monitors the situation in Dagestan stated.

Shapiyev only began working in the Supreme Court at the end of 2011. A statement released by Dagestan's Supreme Court said his work focused on housing disputes, not criminal matters.

Prior to being appointed to the court, however, Shapiyev worked for several years as a state prosecutor. During that time, he was involved in the 2006 trial against Magomed Mukhtarov, who was accused of organizing an assassination attempt on former Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov in 1998.

According to Kavkazky Uzel,  the assassination marks the third attempt on the life of a Dagestani judge this year.

In January, Supreme Court judge Magomed Magomedov was killed in Makhachkala, followed by federal judge Akhmed Radzhabov in March.

Violence in Dagestan has risen in recent months, with gun battles between security forces and suspected rebels becoming an alarmingly common occurrence.

In the first half of 2013 alone, at least 153 people were killed and 162 injured in armed conflicts in Dagestan, Kavkazsky Uzel reported. In Chechnya, formerly known as a hotbed of Islamic insurgent activity, at least 31 were killed and 45 injured over the same period.

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