– ULMAN AND CO-DEFENDANTS DENY CHARGES
Captain Eduard Ulman and three other Russian military officers accused of murdering six civilians in Chechnya four years ago have admitted involvement, but denied the charges against them, RIA Navistar reported on December 12. Ulman, Lieutenant Alexander Kalagansky, Major Aleksei Perelevsky and warrant officer Vladimir Voyevodin are accused of attacking a jeep, killing six locals and burning a car during a reconnaissance mission in the Chechnya in January 2002, according to an indictment read by the presiding judge at a hearing held on December 12. The judges have adjourned until December 14, when witnesses are set to start giving evidence, according to a provisional schedule. Prosecutors expect about 40 witnesses to appear in the court hearings. The four officers have been acquitted twice on charges of murder and abuse of office by the North Caucasus District Military Court in jury trials, but the acquittals were overturned by higher courts.
– NURGALIEV: 22,000 INTERIOR MINISTRY KONTRAKTNIKI IN CHECHNYA
Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev said on December 11 that his ministry had 22,000 professional soldiers in Chechnya, the Moscow Times reported on December 12. Nurgaliev said that as of December 1, all Interior Ministry troops in the republic were on a contract and that more than 6,000 conscripted soldiers were withdrawn from Chechnya during the first 11 months of this year.
– EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTS CRITICIZES ABUSES IN CHECHNYA
The European Parliament adopted a resolution critical of the human rights situation in Russia, including in Chechnya, the parliament’s website reported on December 13. The European parliamentarians noted that “the current situation in Russia gives rise to serious concerns regarding the respect for human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and the rights of civil society and individuals to challenge and hold the authorities accountable for their action.” In particular, the resolution expressed concern “about the use of torture in Russian prisons and police stations and in secret detention centers in Chechnya,” as well as about the “continuing series of murders of prominent persons, such as Anna Politkovskaya, who oppose the current Russian government.”