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Putin urges amnesty for Chechen rebels

Russian President Vladimir Putin asked lawmakers to offer amnesty to Chechen rebels who lay down their arms, pushing ahead with efforts to bring normalcy to the war-ravaged republic despite recent suicide attacks. The announcement came a day after a woman with explosives strapped to her waist blew herself up in the midst of thousands of Muslim pilgrims, killing herself and at least 15 others in an apparent attempt on the life of Chechnya’s Moscow-backed chief administrator. Earlier this week, suicide bombers detonated a truck filled with explosives at the edge of a Chechen government compound, killing 59. In a letter accompanying the bill, Putin said the amnesty offer was “an act of humanism … aimed first of all at creating additional conditions for the establishment of peaceful life in the Chechen Republic,” the Kremlin press service said. He said it would apply to those rebels who had laid down their weapons over the decade ending on Aug. 1 this year, but would not cover foreigners or Russian citizens who were guilty of murder, kidnapping, rape or other especially serious crimes. Full Story

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