Moscow, 14 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday that Russia will no longer pay the costs of Western human rights delegations that visit the country. Seleznyov said Russia's budget is too modest to host observers wanting to verify reports of atrocities committed in Chechnya.
The Council of Europe has sent two delegations to the region in recent weeks to investigate persistent reports of human rights abuses and war crimes allegedly committed during Russia's war in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Yuri Chaika spoke on Salman Raduyev's fate, saying the Chechen rebel leader deserves a very harsh sentence. Raduyev was captured by Russian security forces on Sunday and has now been formally charged with terrorism. The charge carries a possible sentence of 50 years.