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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Russia buries Maskhadov in secret
By Stephen Eke
BBC News, Moscow

File photograph of Aslan Maskhadov
Russia blamed Maskhadov for a series of attacks
The Russian authorities have confirmed that they have buried the late Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov in a secret grave.

They say that they will not disclose its location to his family despite repeated appeals for his body to be sent back to Chechnya for burial.

Mr Maskhadov was killed during an operation by Russian forces last month.

A spokesman for Russia's prosecutor general said the body had been buried in full compliance with Russian law.

The statement says the corpses of those described as terrorists cannot be returned to their families.


Moscow had formally accused Mr Maskhadov of mass murder and staging an armed mutiny.

Mr Maskhadov was elected president of Chechnya in elections internationally recognised as free and fair.

And he denied personal responsibility for the major rebel attacks Russia blamed on him, including the siege of a 2002 Moscow theatre and the Beslan school massacre in 2004.


Mr Maskhadov never stood trial, and died after apparently refusing to surrender to Russian troops in a village near the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Some foreign governments and international rights organisations said Moscow had eliminated the only Chechen rebel leader who could have conducted meaningful peace negotiations.

But the Russian forces, bogged down in a guerrilla-type conflict that claims lives daily, portrayed his death as a major step into returning Chechnya to peaceful life.

Russia says a bounty of $20m was paid to those who provided the special forces with information that led to Mr Maskhadov's killing.

Chechnya is a highly traditional, Muslim society and a number of Chechen officials have said Moscow's refusal to return Mr Maskhadov's body was an unnecessarily vindictive gesture.


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