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