RealNews

Chechens Weigh Up Amnesty

Up to 200 Russian soldiers will benefit from an amnesty, backed by President Vladimir Putin, for crimes committed in Chechnya, a senior military official said yesterday. The announcement raised fears that the amnesty would benefit the Russian army – accused of countless brutalities against civilians in the separatist republic – more than the Chechen population it was designed to appease. The amnesty gives Chechen rebels until August 1 to surrender but critics said the plan is not a real attempt to create a truce between the Kremlin and its Chechen opponents as most rebels would be accused of more serious crimes, to which the amnesty does not apply. Many consider the amnesty is meant to “soften up” the republic prior to the presidential and parliamentary elections engineered by Moscow for later this year. Early estimates from Russian officials suggest 1,000 people may be amnestied, as many as a third of them federal troops. Yesterday senior military prosecutor Alexander Savenkov said that up to 200 soldiers would be eligible. Full Story

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