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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Rights groups condemn Chechen abuses
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC Moscow correspondent

Human rights organisations have issued a joint statement condemning what they say are widespread abuses in the Russian republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia.

The groups - including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - say that despite Moscow's claims to have normalised the situation in the north Caucasus, the cycle of violence there continues.

Residents in Grozny, Chechnya
Human rights groups say there have been attacks against civilians
The Kremlin says that life in Chechnya is gradually returning to normal, but human rights organisations tell a very different story.

They have provided new evidence of rape, torture and summary execution of Chechen civilians by Russian troops and an increasingly powerful militia commanded by the son of Chechnya's pro-Moscow president, Ahmad Kadyrov.

And the violence is now reported to be spreading from Chechnya to neighbouring Ingushetia.

Anna Neistat, from Human Rights Watch said: "Over the last three months, we've documented a number of abductions and disappearances on the territory of Ingushetia as well as several attacks against civilians resulting in either deaths or serious injuries.

"Just like in Chechnya, the perpetrators of these abuses go unpunished and there is no accountability whatsoever."


There is concern too that Chechen refugees in Ingushetia have come under strong pressure from the Russian authorities to return home.

That is something which Moscow denies, although it admits it intends to shut down all the refugee camps by the end of the month.

The report was published as a Chechen woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to detonate a bomb in a Moscow restaurant last summer.

One bomb-disposal expert was killed when he tried to make the device safe.

Country profile: Russia
16 Mar 04  |  Country profiles
Regions and territories: Chechnya
03 Feb 04  |  Country profiles


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