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Hundreds Protest Release Of Murderer In Grozny

Hundreds of Chechens have been protesting in Grozny against a court decision last week to grant parole to a Russian Army colonel convicted of murdering a teenage Chechen girl, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

A court in Dimitrovgrad ruled on December 24 that Colonel Yury Budanov be released 8 1/2 years into his 10-year sentence, although he is to remain in prison until January.

Budanov was arrested in early 2000 and convicted in 2003 of murdering 18-year-old Elza Kungayeva.

The protest in Chechnya's capital appears to have been organized by the republic's authorities.

But the public indignation is quite genuine -- a lot of people are very upset by this decision, especially as so many Chechens spend 20 years in Russian prisons without parole for much lesser offenses.

-- Aslan Doukaev

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