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CHECHNYA LINKS LIBRARY

October 30th 2001 · Prague Watchdog / Ruslan Isayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Russian soldiers return the bodies of two killed from Komsomolskoye

Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus – The bodies of two citizens of the village of Komsomolskoye, killed by Russian soldiers on October 27 on the outskirts of the settlement, were returned to the villagers. Thus, one of the requirements announced by protesters on Monday rally in Gudermes has been met.

A fourteen-year old Amkhad Gekhayev and Zelina Mezhidova - mother of four children - were shot dead from a Russian helicopter last Friday. On weekend, Chechnya‘s administration head Akhmad Kadyrov personally inspected investigation of the killings. Having received no concrete results, a few hundred Komsomolskoye villagers set out for Gudermes and blocked the administration building. They announced that they would not go back home unless the bodies of the two killed were found and perpetrators of the crime publicly punished. The protesters did not believe the official statement that Gekhayev and Mezhidova were only missing, as some of the local policemen witnessed to the event.

In late afternoon, the bodies of the killed were transported back to Komsomolskoye. Meanwhile, Akhmad Kadyrov promised that those who committed the crime would be severely punished. Then, the protesters ended their blockade and returned to their village to bury the bodies.

Today, investigators interrogated the helicopter crew that fired against the villagers. The soldiers said that on their way from a military operation they tried to stop a suspicious-looking car for checking and fired a few warning shots. Seeing that the car kept going with no signs of slowing down, they decided to launch an attack. It was only later when they found out that there was a boy and a young woman inside the car. Both died during transport to hospital.

In fact, all roads in Gudermes district, as well as everywhere in the Chechen Republic, are under control of Russian soldiers and there are checkpoints close to almost all settlements. Therefore, there should be no need for stopping the car by a military helicopter.

Komsomolskoye villagers are worried that their case, just one of many crimes committed by Russian servicemen, will not be resolved. The Attorney General of Chechnya Vsevolod Chernov himself gave the first sign stating that for the moment it would be untimely to accuse the helicopter crew of killing innocent people.

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