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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Judge Says Budanov Needs Psychiatric Treatment in Jail


Colonel Yury Budanov

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia -- Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering a Chechen woman, requires immediate psychiatric treatment as his trial continues, the judge presiding over the case said Friday.

Judge Viktor Kostin said he intended to transfer Budanov from his regular prison cell to the prison's special medical unit, but said he would not make a final decision until Monday to allow more consultations with lawyers.

Budanov's transfer would not affect the course of the trial, which would continue.

The judge's decision came after a team of experts concluded that Budanov was insane at the time of the killing. The examination -- the fourth psychiatric test performed on Budanov since the beginning of his trial in February 2001 -- was widely expected to lead to acquittal or a light sentence.

Budanov has admitted strangling 18-year-old Elza Kungayeva in Chechnya, but says he killed her in a rage while interrogating her because he thought she was a rebel sniper.

The much-delayed trial is the first public proceeding against a soldier for actions in Chechnya.

At the session Friday, Judge Kostin also said he intended to order Budanov to be briefed on the psychiatrists' findings.

Budanov has so far not been allowed to hear the findings out of fears that it could worsen his condition, a concern the judge tentatively rejected Friday.

Meanwhile, Abdulla Khamzayev, the lawyer representing the Chechen woman's relatives, asked the court to translate the psychiatric report into the Chechen language so his clients could review it. He also requested that an interpreter be present during the proceedings.