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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Killer colonel loses Chechen appeal
Colonel Yuri Budanov
Budanov is the highest-ranking officer charged with Chechen crimes
A Russian colonel jailed for murdering a Chechen teenager has lost his legal attempt to blame the attack on his mental state.

Yuri Budanov had claimed that he was temporarily insane when he strangled 18-year-old Elsa Kungayeva.

But Russia's Supreme Court upheld a 10-year prison sentence imposed by a military court in July.

Budanov is the most senior officer put on trial for a crime against a Chechen civilian.

I have suffered, my daughter has suffered, and tomorrow it will be someone else - no-one can insure themselves against it

Ms Kungayeva was taken from her home to a Russian military barracks in March 2000. She was raped before being strangled.

Budanov was originally accused of raping her, but the charge was dropped.

The colonel claimed in court that he attacked the teenager in a fit of rage, because he was convinced she was a Chechen rebel sniper.

BUDANOV TIMELINE
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
October 2003: Supreme Court upholds conviction
Human rights groups have documented thousands of cases of alleged abuses by Russian soldiers in Chechnya, but few have been convicted.

The Budanov case, seen as a landmark because of his senior rank, was closely watched by human rights observers, especially after judges at his first trial, in a military court in 2002, accepted his plea of temporary insanity and threw the charges out.

However, that decision was later overturned, and a fresh trial resulted in a guilty verdict.

After Monday's supreme court decision to uphold that verdict, Budanov's lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, said he would attempt to launch a fresh appeal.

Budanov will serve his sentence in a high-security prison camp.




SEE ALSO:
Rape and death in Chechnya
17 Sep 03  |  Europe
Russia 'thinning out' Chechens
23 Jul 02  |  Europe
Russia's "dirty war"
09 Aug 01  |  Europe
Russia admits Chechnya abuses
11 Jul 01  |  Europe
Q&A: The Chechen conflict
29 Oct 02  |  Europe
Profile: Chechnya
30 Apr 03  |  Country profiles


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