RealNews

Chechen Amnesty Approved

Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed a partial amnesty for participants in the nine-year Chechen conflict. The bill went through the State Duma at its third and final reading with ease, with 352 deputies voting for and 25 against. The amnesty – which takes effects in the next few days – covers Chechen rebels who hand in their weapons or renounce the separatist cause by 1 September. It also applies to Russian troops, prompting criticism that it could be used to cover up human rights abuses by federal soldiers. President Vladimir Putin is hoping the amnesty will improve chances of a political settlement. He promised it earlier in the year after Chechens approved a new constitution recognising that their republic was “an integral and inseparable” part of the Russian Federation. Full Story

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