December 18, 2006 -- A Moscow court began hearings today of an unprecedented lawsuit filed by a group of Chechens against the Russian Defense Ministry.
More than 40 residents of the village of Borozdinovskaya are asking a total of 126 million rubles (about $4.7 million) in compensation for damages suffered during a raid by special forces 18 months ago.
The villagers say one person was killed, 11 others went missing, and several houses were burned down during the June 2005 security sweep allegedly carried out by pro-Moscow Chechen soldiers. Hundreds of villagers fled to neighboring Daghestan.
Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation into the raid but said no evidence was found to implicate soldiers in the killing or abductions.
The plaintiffs' lawyers today asked that the case be expanded to include damages claims by another 54 villagers. The next court hearing is set for mid January.
The aftermath of a December 2002 Chechen resistance attack on the main government building in Grozny (epa)
The fighting in Chechnya
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