A court in Rostov-on-Don in Southern Russia has given long jail sentences to four Russian soldiers for killing six civilians in Chechnya. However only one of the men was in court. The other three are fugitives and were sentenced in absentia. The missing trio includes their commanding officer, Captain Eduard Olman, who received the longest jail term of 14 years.
“We are satisfied with this decision,” said a relative of one victim. “However, from our point of view, the verdict is too mild, but this is up to the court.”
The military court overturned two previous jury trial aquittals.
The actions of Ulman’s group, which opened fire on a truck at their checkpoint in January 2002, sparked outrage from Chechens and human rights groups.
The head of the Russian office of NGO Human Rights Watch called the verdict a “significant victory for justice”, and added there was now “hope there would be a long series of trials of people guilty of crimes in Chechnya”.
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