Moscow, 7 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Moscow bureau of the Associated Press confirmed today that Russian troops in Chechnya detained an AP reporter, beat him, and held him in a covered pit overnight before releasing him yesterday. Ruslan Musaev, an ethnic Chechen who works as a cameraman, photographer, and reporter for the AP, says he was shopping at Grozny's central market when Russian troops demanded his documents and took him to Khankala military airport.
AP says Musaev did not have documents identifying him as a reporter.
Musaev says that yesterday he handed over $600 and his gold watch to an officer who had demanded to know what he had of value. He says he was later released on the border with the neighboring republic of Ingushetia.
ITAR-TASS quotes Khankala's military governor as denying anyone by the name of Ruslan Musaev has been detained or arrested recently at Khankala.
And the office of the Kremlin's spokesman on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, says Musaev is not an officially accredited correspondent with AP.