Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov (left) with a rebel who has taken advantage of the amnesty (ITAR-TASS)
September 22, 2006 -- Russia's lower house of parliament today approved a plan to extend through January 15, 2007 an amnesty to Chechen rebels.
The proposal, which was proposed by President Vladimir Putin and approved by 350 votes to 80, promises that rebels will not be prosecuted if they surrender, unless they are suspected of murder, rape, and terrorism.
The new amnesty will also apply to Russian servicemen suspected of committing crimes while serving in Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus.
The vote comes near the end of a temporary amnesty measure announced in July.
The deputy head of the Federal Security Service, Vladimir Bulavin, told members of the Duma that 288 rebels have so far taken advantage of the initial offer.
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