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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reporter's Allegations Of Brutality Spark Probe

NAZRAN, Ingushetia — Prosecutors in Chechnya will investigate reports by journalist Anna Politkovskaya that she has uncovered evidence of a brutal detention camp where Chechens are held in pits and released in exchange for payment, Interfax reported Sunday.

The chief prosecutor of Chechnya, Vsevolod Chernov, told Interfax that his office was looking into the allegations.

Politkovskaya's reports "contained inaccuracies," and her statements for the press and for prosecutors contradicted each other in places, Chernov said. "But prosecutors will check this information and announce the results to the public."

Politkovskaya, a reporter with the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, was detained in Chechnya last week. Officials said she was not carrying all the necessary documents to work in a war zone. But Politkovskaya said in a television interview Friday, a day after her release, that she was detained because she had uncovered evidence of "one of the cruelest filtration camps in Chechnya."

Vladimir Kalamanov, presidential commissioner for human rights in Chechnya, will travel there later this week to check on the reports, Interfax said Sunday. Kalamanov said there was no proof that soldiers were holding suspected rebels in pits, but that he would "thoroughly examine the territory and find out whether a filtration camp is located on it."

The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, Alvaro Gil-Robles, was scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Sunday and make a two-day visit to Chechnya later in the week.

Kremlin spokesman Konstantin Makeyev said there was no official comment on Politkovskaya's statement, adding the journalist was not a credible source. Makeyev said there are no so-called filtration camps.

Nikolai Staskov, chief of staff of the airborne forces, which Politkovskaya said ran the camp, also denied that filtration camps exist and that the military kept detainees in pits, Interfax said.

Pavel Krasheninnikov, a prominent liberal legislator, said a nongovernmental commission that he chairs had uncovered evidence of brutal treatment of detainees in Chechnya. "According to our information, such places exist, but as soon as such signals are heard and checks begin, they disappear," Krasheninnikov said Friday. "Despite the end of large-scale fighting, large-scale violations of human rights are still occurring in Chechnya."

President Vladimir Putin honored the military on its holiday Friday with a Kremlin award ceremony, while the Chechen and Ingush peoples mourned the anniversary of their mass deportation during World War II. Defender of the Fatherland Day, the annual holiday honoring the military, coincides with the day when the Chechens and Ingush were deported en masse on dictator Josef Stalin's orders to Central Asia in 1944.

Thousands of security troops surrounded towns and villages, driving all Chechens and Ingush — about half a million people — from their homes into railway cars for exile in Kazakhstan. The two peoples were accused of collaborating with Nazi forces. Thousands of people died en route, and tens of thousands more perished in exile. The survivors were permitted to return to their homeland only after Stalin's death in 1953.

On Friday, about 2,000 people, some from Chechnya, gathered near the monument to deportation victims in Nazran, the capital of Ingushetia. "We mustn't forget 1944" and "Stop tormenting our people," read protesters' posters.