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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Chechens Win Suit in Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday to award compensation to three plaintiffs from Chechnya who survived a mopping-up operation by federal forces in Grozny in 2000.

The Strasbourg-based court ruled that federal government should pay the three women almost 200,000 euros, Ekho Moskvy radio reported. Two of the plaintiffs barely survived the operation in January 2000, while the third witnessed the execution of her relatives by soldiers, the radio station said.

The ruling lambasted the Chechen authorities for being sluggish and unprofessional in their investigations of the killings in a Grozny suburb in January and February 2000.

Chechen prosecutors investigated the killings only after journalist Anna Politkovskaya -- who was murdered last year -- wrote about them in a newspaper, said the Russia Justice Initiative, a group that provides Chechens with legal aid.

Also Thursday, a Chechen activist called on the West not to turn its back on the people of Chechnya.

Natalya Estemirova -- a member of the Memorial human rights group who was in London to collect the first annual Anna Politkovskaya Award for women defenders of human rights in war -- said she hoped the award would raise awareness.

"I hope that the fact of this award will help. I say: Chechnya is part of Europe. You cannot simply forget us," she said.

The group Reach All Women in War is awarding the prize, backed by at least six Nobel Peace Prize winners, in honor of Politkovskaya. Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire will present the award in London on Friday to Estemirova, who lives in Grozny.

Estemirova said the violence in Chechnya has continued unabated, with rival armed groups carrying out kidnappings and disappearances, and torturing prisoners to obtain confessions.

"Kidnappings are not rare. Disappearances of people after kidnappings are not rare. Killings are not rare," she said. "Now what is happening is the killing of Chechens by Chechens. This is the most dangerous of all, because it never ends."

Reuters, MT