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Russia: Army Officer Found Guilty Of Murder Of Chechen Woman

Rostov-on-Don, Russia; 25 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Colonel Yurii Budanov today was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a Chechen woman and sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison. A military court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, found that Budanov was sane at the time he killed 18-year-old Elza Kungaeva three years ago. The court ordered Budanov to be stripped of his military rank and awards.

The time Budanov has spent in pretrial detention, approximately three years, will count toward his sentence.

Budanov has admitted to the killing but said he did it in a fit of temporary insanity. A psychiatric report delivered to the court last month concluded that Budanov was sane.

In December 2002, a lower court ruled Budanov was temporarily insane and not criminally responsible for his actions. But the Supreme Court overturned the decision and ordered a new trial.