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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Cemetery Blast Trial

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moscow City Court convicted an Afghan veteran Wednesday of the 1996 bombing of a Moscow cemetery that killed 14 and sentenced him to 14 years in prison.

The court said Mikhail Smurov built the bomb and helped plant it at a grave at the Kotlyakovskoye Cemetery in southern Moscow, Interfax reported.

The blast killed senior officials of the Russian Fund for Afghan War Invalids who were visiting the cemetery.

The court said a financial dispute at the fund was the motive for the attack.

Smurov's lawyer told Interfax that he will appeal.

Ivanov on Iran

MOSCOW (AP) -- Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Wednesday warned that Russia will not tolerate criticism for helping Iran build a nuclear power plant, a remark apparently aimed at the United States.

"There are no grounds for complaints directed at Russia," Ivanov was quoted by the Interfax Military News Agency as saying. "There is no point in making unsubstantiated accusations, particularly in the form of an ultimatum."

Budanov Testimony

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Days before Colonel Yury Budanov killed a young Chechen woman, saying he suspected her of being a sniper, several soldiers were injured in the same village by a hidden marksman, an army intelligence commander told a military court Wednesday.

Budanov has admitted killing 18-year-old Elza Kungayeva in the early hours of March 27, 2000, but says he suspected her of being a rebel sniper and acted in a fit of rage.

Roman Mirzayev, intelligence commander of the 160th tank regiment, testified that there was a sniper in the area and several soldiers, serving nearby, were injured by sniper-fire in the days before Kungayeva's death.

Mirzayev also testified that in the months preceding Kungayeva's slaying, Budanov had been seen bursting into fits of rage. Budanov's lawyers are seeking to have the court declare that their client was temporarily insane at the time of the killing.

Amnesty on Chechnya

LONDON (AFP) -- Russia is carrying out "serious human rights violations" in Chechnya, and the routine use of torture by police to extract confessions from detainees and "degrading" prison conditions are also causing concern, Amnesty International said in its annual report released Wednesday.

The armed forces in Chechnya committed "serious human rights violations and breached international humanitarian law with almost total impunity," but both sides in the conflict were guilty of abuses, Amnesty said.

Election Back On

MOSCOW (MT) -- Putting an end to a two-month dispute, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Karachayevo-Cherkessia's presidential election will be held June 15.

The vote had been in doubt after Karachayevo-Cherkessia President Vladimir Semyonov, the regional prosecutor, the local division of the Union of Rights Forces and two voters complained that it would take place before Semyonov's term expired.

In dispute was whether Semyonov's term began June 16, 1999, when he won the vote; Aug. 31 of that year, when the official election results were announced; or Sept. 14, when he was sworn in.