Chechnya: The week in brief: 06 - 12 Jan 2003

Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog.
Monday, January 6

No major events.

Tuesday, January 7

Nina Davydovich, head of Russian humanitarian organization Druzhba, who was kidnapped by unknown persons on July 23, 2002 in the Nadterechny district of Chechnya, was freed in the night to January 7. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said that General Lebed's North Caucasus peace-making mission contributed to the operation which led to her release.

German journalist Guenther Wallraff, who was travelling with the founder of humanitarian organization Cap Anamur Rupert Neudeck and German ex-minister Norbert Bluem to Russia to report on the human rights situation in Chechnya, was not allowed to enter the Russian territory in spite of his valid visa. As a result, the three flew back to Germany.

Wednesday, January 8

The parents of Chechen girl Elza Kungayeva, who was in late March 2000 kidnapped and then killed by Russian Colonel Yuri Budanov, appealed against the verdict made by the North Caucasus military court in Roston-on-Don on December 31, according to which Budanov was acquitted on grounds of temporary insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. On January 9 the verdict was appealed also by the military prosecutor Alexander Derbenev.

Newspaper Vesti Groznogo, issued in the Chechen capital, has merged with Zov zemli, issued in the (rural) district of Grozny, and changed its name to Stolitsa. The paper will come out three times a week, the Moscow-based Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations reported.

The European Commission said it granted 3 million euros of humanitarian aid to provide food for the victims of the conflict in Chechnya.

Thursday, January 9

The hearing on the extradition of Chechen politician Akhmed Zakayev to Russia at the Bow Street Magistrates Court in London lasted only several minutes and was postponed until January 31 at the request of the British Home Office, which said it needed time to become familiar with the documents submitted by Russia.

Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration, appointed the republic's Premier Mikhail Babich to the post of the head of the staff for the referendum on the new Chechen constitution, Russian media reported.

Friday, January 10

The date of the referendum on the draft Chechen constitution and draft acts on presidential and parliamentary elections in the republic was set at March 23, chairman of the Chechen election commission Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov said.

A total of 46 soldiers, including 6 officers, have thus far been convicted for crimes against civilians since the start of the "anti-terrorist operation" in Chechnya, Russian Military Prosecutor Alexander Savenkov said.

Saturday, January 11

No major events.

Sunday, January 12

No major events.


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