Activists say leader of indigenous Circassian minority detained amid tensions over Olympics
Monday, Feb 17, 2014 04:00 am
SOCHI, Russia - Activists say Russian police have detained a community leader of the Circassian ethnic group, which is native to the Sochi region and has protested Russia's holding of the Olympics on their ancestors' land.
The Adyge Khase community group said Monday that leader Asker Sokht was held Friday near the city of Maikop under unclear circumstances. Local police in Maikop would not comment.
Activist Arandin Khotai of the community group says the arrest was unexpected because Sokht had good relations with local authorities and is viewed as a moderate.
Khotai said the Sochi Olympics are being held "as if we don't exist."
Circassian activists in cities around the world have protested the Olympics, angry over a massacre of their ancestors by czarist troops in the 19th century.