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11.02.2009

Chechen Investigators believe Budanov is implicated in abductions

   

The Investigation Committee for Chechnya believes it has established that former Army Colonel Yury Budanov is implicated in the abduction of three people whose bodies were subsequently discovered in the Urus-Martanovsky District. Interfax quoted an official spokesperson for the Committee as saying that in 2000 three residents of Chechnya’s Shatoi district were abducted and later discovered dead near the village of Tangi-Chu. A criminal case had been initiated, but later terminated since there were no suspects.

However, the spokesperson stated that on 22 January human rights activist Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, as well as several residents of the Shatoi district had filed a document alleging that Budanov was involved in the abduction and murder of the three people. According to the spokesperson, "The document stated that Budanov himself stopped the car containing the victims and took them away and their bodies were later discovered," Relatives of the people who died identified Budanov from television reports and from photographs in the press.

As reported here, Stanislav Markelov, lawyer and human rights defender, who was representing the family of Elsa Kungaeva, whom Budanov murdered in 2000, was gunned down shortly after a press conference at which he clearly stated the family’s intention to fight against Budanov’s release on parole.

Very briefly, Yury  Budanov  was the first high-ranking Russian officer to be charged with serious crimes over Chechnya. He was originally charged with raping and murdering an 18-year-old girl.  Later the rape charge was dropped, probably because the body of his victim had been burned.   Budanov claimed that he had thought the young woman was a sniper. She was not.

The first trial ended in  Budanov ’s being released on the grounds of having been “temporarily insane” at the specific moment when he killed Elza Kungaeva.  Not surprisingly the verdict was greeted with outrage, and eventually another judge, Vladimir Bukreyev sentenced him to 10 years. 

Please see http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1232547617 for Stanislav Markelov’s own words about Budanov’s release.

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