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Convicted Murderer Slain In Moscow Buried With Military Honors

Russian Army Colonel Yury Budanov Buried Outside Moscow
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WATCH: Footage taken by RFE/RL's Russian Service of the funeral of former Russian army colonel and convicted killer Yury Budanov, who was shot dead in Moscow on June 10

KHIMKI, Russia -- A Russian military expert says the military honors performed at the funeral today of convicted murderer and former Russian Army Colonel Yury Budanov violate the law, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Budanov was assassinated on June 10 in a central Moscow park. An unknown assailant fired six shots at Budanov, striking him four times in the head. The killer escaped in a car driven by an accomplice.

At his funeral today in Khimki, near Moscow, a military escort for Budanov saluted him by firing their guns three times into the sky.

Several uniformed military representatives also attended the funeral.

Moscow-based military expert Aleksandr Golts told RFE/RL that the fact that Budanov was buried with military honors contradicts Russian law.

Golts said that Budanov was a "war criminal and a convicted murderer" and therefore should not have been buried with any sort of military honors.

It is not clear who ordered and/or allowed the military escort to be present at Budanov's funeral.

But Deputy State Duma Speaker and ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said at the service that Budanov should be posthumously exonerated of the murder he was convicted of.

He added that: "We will always remember Yury Dmitriyevich Budanov as a colonel of the Russian Army who fought heroically in the Caucasus for the interests of Russia and the interests of the Russian people."

Budanov was arrested in 2000 and charged with kidnapping, raping, and killing 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungayeva. His trial lasted for more than two years and in 2003 he was found guilty of Kungayeva's murder and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Budanov was also stripped of his military rank and all of his military regalia and awards. The other two charges were dropped by the prosecutor.

On December 24, 2008, a court decided to grant Budanov parole. He was released in January 2009, 15 months before the completion of his sentence. The move was protested by rights groups and people and officials in Chechnya.

Moscow police have launched an investigation into Budanov's assassination.

Read more in Russian here