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Watchdogs Call For Probe Into Chechen Detentions

A group of prominent human rights watchdogs has issued a joint call for an investigation into the "arbitrary" detention of three human rights activists in Chechnya.

In a statement, Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, Front Line, and Human Rights Watch also called on the Russian government to fulfill its promise to ensure a safe working environment for human rights workers in the North Caucasus.

Activists Dmitry Yegoshin of the nongovernmental organization Man and Law, Roman Veretennikov of Mothers to Protect the Detained, Accused, and Convicted, and Vladislav Sadykov of the Bashkortostan-based Committee against Torture, were detained on February 7 in Shali.

Chechen officials released them after detaining them for 15 hours.

Aleksandr Cherkasov of the Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center told RFE/RL's Russian Service that the activists had intended to collect information about missing people in Chechnya and that a resident of the town of Shali had specific information about a missing person.

Cherkasov says neither the reason for their detention nor their release were documented or explained.