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Ingush police open criminal cases against two activists, as mobile Internet service fails across the republic and protests continue

Meduza

Protests are still happening in Ingushetia, where police just opened criminal cases against two prominent activists: General Civic Forum chairman Musa Malsagov and a local clan council leader named Malsag Uzhakhov. According to Barakh Chemurziev, the head of the “Support Ingushetia” movement, the two activists are charged with insulting the state authorities, and police already have warrants to search their homes.

Since early October, thousands of people in Ingushetia have demonstrated against a controversial border deal with the neighboring republic of Chechnya that was meant to resolve a decades-long border dispute in the Sunzhensky District. Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the head of Ingushetia, is facing calls for his resignation.

Since the protests started, late on October 3, people across Ingushetia have complained about a near total loss of 3G and 4G mobile Internet connectivity. The telecommunications company Megafon publicly denies that it’s received any complaints about service outages in Ingushetia, but an employee anonymously sent the BBC photos of internal corporate emails apparently showing that Megafon is in fact aware of the data issue, but is taking no steps to fix the problem. Beeline and MTS customers in Ingushetia have also reportedly lost their mobile Internet connections.

The BBC reports that all three major telecoms could lose data connectivity simultaneously, if they were sharing the same faulty mainline, but an anonymous source in the republic’s IT sector told the news agency that Ingushetia’s mainline is operating normally. If the authorities orchestrated the mobile Internet outage, it would technically be legal in a formal state of emergency, though state officials have not yet declared an emergency.