RealNews

Chechen Amnesty Plan Gets Tentative OK

The lower house of the Russian parliament gave initial approval Wednesday to President Vladimir Putin’s proposed amnesty for Chechen rebels who lay down their arms, a measure that the Kremlin says is an important step toward peace and that critics say is virtually meaningless. The bill, which the State Duma passed 354-18 in the first of three required readings, calls for amnesty for rebels who have given up arms over the past decade or who do so by Aug. 1. It would not cover foreigners fighting with the insurgents or Russian citizens guilty of murder, kidnapping, rape or other grave crimes. It also would deny pardon to rebels found to have tried to kill federal police and servicemen. That could mean that any insurgent who took part in the Chechen wars could be subject to prosecution, critics say. Full Story

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