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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Russia 'must pay' Chechen family
By Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow

Russian troops in Chechnya
Russian troops are accused of widespread abuses in Chechnya
A European court has ordered Russia to pay 277,000 euros (150,000) in compensation to relatives of a Chechen family shot dead by Russian troops.

Human rights groups say they were innocent civilians executed by a paramilitary police unit.

The court found Russia guilty of violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

It said five members of the Estamirov family had been the victims of unlawful killing by the Russian state.

They had been found shot dead outside their home in the Chechen capital, Grozny, in February 2000, at the height of the second Chechen war.

Amongst the dead were a baby and a heavily pregnant woman.

The court in Strasbourg, France, said there had been inexplicable delays in the investigation by the Russian authorities, and that after six years it had failed to produce any results.

No-one had been charged.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch 60 civilians were allegedly killed in the same part of Grozny on the same day by the same Russian police unit.

The European court is due to consider another case connected to this incident.

An increasing number of cases alleging gross human rights violations by Russian security forces in Chechnya are being brought before the court in Strasbourg.

It is a clear sign that relatives of those killed have no faith in the Russian justice system.


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