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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Held Rebels Get Amnesty

The State Duma on Friday amnestied the Chechen rebels captured by the Russian troops during the hostage crisis in the Dagestani village of Pervomaiskoye last month so they can be exchanged for the 12 Novosibirsk policemen held by the Chechens since the crisis.

The Duma voted 331-1 with two abstentions to amnesty the nine Chechen guerrillas held by Russia, who were officially under investigation on terrorism charges.

Their exchange for the captive policemen would be illegal if they were not cleared of criminal charges.

The policemen from Novosibirsk, who were with an Interior Troops unit in Dagestan, were captured by the Chechen fighters headed by Salman Raduyev as they rode from the town of Kizlyar, where they had seized over 100 civilian hostages, to Pervomaiskoye.

During the debate in the Duma, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky protested the amnesty, saying the policemen themselves were to blame for their capture.