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Alleged Insurgents Retried For Deadly Ingushetia Attacks

NAZRAN, Russia -- Preliminary hearings have begun in the retrial of 12 alleged insurgents accused of participating in attacks six years ago that killed dozens of police, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

The hearing for the men -- 11 Ingush and one Chechen -- is being held in Pyatigorsk, the capital of Russia's North Caucasus Federal District.

The multiple raids on Interior Ministry facilities took place in the Ingushetian town of Nazran in June 2004 and killed up to 80 police officers.

According to a chronology of the case compiled by the human rights watchdog Memorial, the 12 men were arrested on various dates in 2005-06.

Their jury trial began in August 2008, but one Ingush judge after another recused themselves from hearing the case on the grounds that they knew one or more of the victims.

In April 2009, the ethnic Russian chairman of Ingushetia's Supreme Court took over as presiding judge and ruled that the trial should begin from scratch without a jury, as jury trials in terrorism cases had been abolished.

The lawyers of some of the 12 men who face charges other than terrorism appealed that ruling, but it was rejected.

In November, the Russian Supreme Court transferred the case to the Stavropol regional court in Pyatigorsk.