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Russian soldiers cleared of Chechen deaths

[JURIST] A North Caucasus District military court has found a group of a special forces soldiers in the Russian military not guilty in the 2002 murder of six Chechen civilians [Amnesty International report]. The troops admitted to killing the civilians but said they were just following orders. When they fired upon a van that missed a checkpoint they only killed one passenger initially, but when they contacted headquarters they were told to execute the survivors and cover up the incident. Human rights groups, including The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) [official website], have denounced the verdict [IHF statement] as not dealing severely with abuses in the Russian military and thousands of people gathered in Chechnya [Mosnews coverage] Friday to protest the verdict. BBC News has more.

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