–SERVICEMEN GO ON TRIAL AGAIN FOR WAR CRIMES
On May 3, the North Caucasus District Military Court began hearing the case of two Interior Ministry internal troops officers accused murdering Chechen civilians. Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on May 4 that Yevgeny Khudyakov and Sergei Arakcheyev were tried and found innocent back in June 2004. Last November, however, the Russian Supreme Court’s military collegium overturned that decision and the case was reopened. Investigators say that in January 2003, the reconnaissance unit to which the two officers belonged carried out a special operation in Grozny’s Oktyabrsk district near the Serverny airport. According to the May 4 edition of Moskovsky komsomolets, “Khudyakov took the detainees out of the truck, ordered them to lay on the ground and shot them in the head. In order to hide evidence of the crime, the spetsnaz burned the truck with the corpses and destroyed the passports of the victims.”
–FIVE FOUND GUILTY OF AIDING WARLORD IN COUNTERFEITING DOLLARS
The Moscow City Court sentenced five Chechens to prison terms on charges that they aided Abu al-Walid, the Arab warlord and rebel field commander killed in Chechnya in April 2004, in counterfeiting U.S. dollars, Kommersant reported on May 4. The two heads of the counterfeiting group, Uluby Magomedkhanov and Amirbek Labazanov, were sentenced to 11 and 10 years in a strict-regime labor camp, respectively.
–FINNISH BUSINESSMAN AGAIN VOWS TO HOST REBEL WEBSITE
Finnish businessman Mikael Sturshe has announced that he intends once again to open the Chechen separatist Kavkazcenter website on his server, Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 2. Sturshe first began hosting Kavkazcenter last September after Lithuania’s State Security Department closed it down in that country (see Chechnya Weekly, November 24, 2004). In October, Finnish police closed the website down. This time around, Sturshe told a press conference in Helsinki that he regards supporting Kavkazcenter as a matter principle.