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Russia: Babitsky Talks About His Detention

Moscow, 1 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent Andrei Babitsky today revealed more details about his time in detention in Chechnya. Babitsky says Russian forces confiscated evidence he had collected while he was in Grozny during the Russian assault on the Chechen capital. Babitsky disappeared in Chechnya in mid-January. The Russian military later said he was handed over to Chechen rebels in exchange for Russian prisoners. Babitsky resurfaced last Friday in Daghestan where he was detained and charged with possessing false documents. He was then released from custody and returned to Moscow.

Speaking at a news conference today in Moscow, Babitsky said Russian forces confiscated video interviews he had made with civilians in Grozny. He said the number of civilians killed in Grozny was a crime that will take "years to investigate."

Babitsky repeated claims he made earlier this week of atrocities committed by Russian troops in the Chernokozovo "filtration" camp where he was sent after his detention in Chechnya. He said he had indications all what happened to him was a "poorly planned action" by Russian security services.

Babitsky's lawyers said he needs hospital treatment after suffering abuse during his detention.

Russian officials have dismissed Babitsky's claims of brutal treatment.