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Ingush Opposition Blogger Accused of Drug Trafficking

A blogger who worked with slain Ingush opposition journalist Magomed Yevloyev has been detained in Moscow on suspicion of drug trafficking and possession of explosives and extremist materials, charges that his supporters called a cover for political persecution.

Alexei, or Alaudin, Dudko, 39, who runs the blog Ingushetia-ru.livejournal.com, was detained on the night of May 4 in front of the apartment building where he lives in Moscow by Federal Security Service officers, who beat him up and planted drugs and explosives on him, Mikhail Kriger, a prisoner rights activist, told The Moscow Times by telephone Sunday.

Dudko was placed in the Butyrka pretrial prison May 7 after a Moscow court ordered his arrest. Butyrka officials had not let Dudko's state-appointed lawyer visit him as of Sunday, which is a violation of his legal rights, Kriger said.

Charges of drug trafficking and possession of explosives carry maximum sentences of 10 and four years, respectively.

Prosecutors said Dudko broke the law on extremism with some of his blog posts, Kasparov.ru reported.

"Dudko's friends and family claim that the reason for his detention was the information covered in his blog," Kaloi Akhilgov, spokesman for Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, wrote on his LiveJournal blog May 8.

Akhilgov, reached by phone Friday, said he had nothing to add to his blog post, adding that Yevkurov's wife and friends had gotten hold of him.

Dudko, a Ukrainian national who converted to Islam, contributed to Yevloyev's Ingushetia.org opposition web site. He also provided technical support for the site and mirrored its content on his blog.

Yevloyev was shot dead after being taken into custody by Ingush police in August 2008.

After that, Dudko became an independent blogger, mostly covering rebel attacks in his posts.

Dudko has been living in Moscow for the past 10 to 15 years and has a wife and two children, Kasparov.ru said.

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