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Russia: U.S. Commission Urges Release Of Journalists

Washington, 6 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Helsinki Commission is calling on Chechen authorities to help secure the release of four Russian journalists who were kidnapped in Chechnya on Tuesday.

The commission chairman, U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-New York) said he was greatly concerned about the apparent pattern of kidnappings of reporters. He says this threatens press freedom, and he noted that freedom of the press and freedom of movement are standards that anyone seeking to join the international community must recognize and protect.

In a separate protest, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists sent letters to Russian president Boris Yeltsin and Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov condemning the kidnappings. The letter said both leaders were ultimately responsible for the safety and freedom of journalists in Chechnya and called on them to do everything possible to win their release.