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Russia: Official Says Rights Groups Should Be Investigated For Ties To Chechen Rebels

Moscow, 22 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A top Russian official said today that there should be investigations into some local and international human rights organizations that protest the war in Chechnya. Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's commissioner for human rights in Chechnya, said. "By skillfully combining truth, semi-truth, and blatant lies, pseudo-human rights NGOs are misleading international public opinion."

Sultygov said Chechen separatists' terrorist activities "go hand-in-hand" with the psychological war, propaganda, and moral terror conducted by human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Sultygov said it is necessary to investigate from where some of these NGOs are receiving their money.

Many local and human rights groups have criticized Russia for its nearly four-year military campaign in Chechnya. That criticism has continued despite claims by the Russian government that the war in Chechnya is over and stability is gradually returning.