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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Colonel jailed for Chechen murder
A Russian officer has been convicted of murdering a Chechen woman and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Yuri Budanov
Budanov is the highest-ranking soldier tried for crimes in Chechnya
Colonel Yuri Budanov admitted killing Kheda Kungayeva in March 2000, but claimed he was temporarily insane.

Last December, a court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don accepted his defence and acquitted him.

But that verdict was overruled in February by Russia's supreme court, which ordered a retrial.

The judge in the new trial ruled on Friday that Budanov was of sound mind at the time of the killing and found him guilty of kidnapping, murder and abuse of power.

March 2000: Budanov kills 18-year-old Kungayeva
December 2002: Budanov acquitted on grounds of insanity
February 2003: Supreme Court orders re-trial
July 2003: Budanov convicted
It also stripped him of his military rank and the Order of Courage he won in the breakaway region.

He is the highest-ranking Russian soldier to be convicted of a crime against a civilian during Russia's military campaign in Chechnya.

Raped and strangled

The 18-year-old Chechen woman was abducted from her home village of Tangi-Chu and taken to a Russian military camp.

There she was beaten, raped and strangled.

Budanov checking documents in Tangi-Chu in March 2000
Budanov checking documents in Chechnya before his arrest
Budanov, who seized and killed her, told the court he believed that she was a Chechen sniper and that a fit of rage came over him as he interrogated her.

BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg says the trial has been widely seen as a test of Russia's determination to crack down on human rights abuses by Russian troops in Chechnya.

Supporters from the ultranationalist group Russian National Unity stood outside the courtroom to demonstrate moral support for Budanov as the sentence was announced.

In Budanov's first trial psychiatrists supported his claim of temporary insanity, and the court referred him for compulsory psychiatric treatment.

A new psychiatric report delivered to the court last month concluded that the 40-year-old tank commander was sane but in a "highly agitated state" at the time of the killing.

Budanov's lawyer said the sentence was too severe, and that he would appeal.

Russian colonel back on trial
09 Apr 03  |  Europe
Killer colonel cleared of murder
31 Dec 02  |  Europe
Russia escapes Chechen blame
20 Apr 02  |  Europe
Chechnya's cycle of devastation
16 Jan 01  |  Europe

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