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January 16th 2002 · Prague Watchdog/Ruslan Isayev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Protest rally in Argun

Ruslan Isayev, North Caucasus – In the town of Argun, east of the Chechen capital Grozny, a protest meeting has already been going on for three days. Having gathered around the local administration building, the protesters demand an immediate termination of the “special operations.”

The last large-scale “special operation” was carried out in Argun early in January, and numerous human rights violations were reported there. Hundreds of local young men were detained and checked in “filtration” procedure with almost all of them being tortured with electric current and forced to lie on the ground outside in snow and chilly weather.

Several bodies of the detained people were later found near the western periphery Russian military checkpoint, under the bridge on the river of Argun.

After the “mopping-up” operation the Commander of the North Caucasian military district, Gen. Gennady Troshev, disengaged Argun military commander from his post, blaming him for allowing “guerrilas” to enter Argun and ordering fire against non-military areas of the town.

With the new commander though the situation is no better. A rumour has it that the Russian military forces plan new large-scale “special operation” in the town on February 23, the Mourning Day of Chechen nation. That is why local people (mostly women) gathered to organize protest rally. They held banners with anti-war slogans, called for Russian armed forces withdrawal and for termination of ill-famed “mopping-up” operations.

The Argun pro-Russian administration seem to ignore the situation. Asked by journalists they deny the protest rally in Argun.

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