27 October 2005, 20:21

Sentence for Borozdinovskaia passed in Chechnya

The Grozny Garrison Military Court has passed a sentence to an officer of the Vostok ("East") battalion whose subordinates carried out the clean-up in Borozdinovskaia on 4 June this year, Caucasian Knot's correspondent reports.

Company commander Mukhadi Aziyev has been given a suspended sentence of three years, a source with Chechnya's law enforcement agencies said.

"One officer of the Vostok battalion, Mukhadi Aziyev, has been convicted over the developments in Borozdinovskaia, Shelkovskaia district, on 4 June," says the interlocutor. "A charge under the abuse of power article was brought against him. Considering his military accomplishments and irreproachable service, Aziyev was given a suspended sentence of three years."

Military men conducted a so-called "large-scale clean-up" in Borozdinovskaia, Shelkovskaia district, on 4 June 2005. Four private homesteads were burnt down during this action, and two people were killed. The destiny of another eleven residents of the village detained in the course of the clean-up remains unknown.

The military says that a Vostok unit had really conducted a "clean-up" in this settlement, but the killings and abductions of civilians were committed by rebels later when the military men had already left the settlement.

"The evidence collected enables one to speak about what happened in Borozdinovskaia in early June quite definitely," Maksim Toporikov, military prosecutor of the United Group of Troops in the North Caucasus, said earlier. "It has been established that a group of gunmen from illegal armed formations committed a number of grave crimes in the village on the night of 3 June, including the murder of Mr Akhmadov, father of a Vostok serviceman."

"At the same time, a Vostok unit was performing a military mission in the Shelkovskoi forest. The servicemen from this unit learnt about the murder of Akhmadov. Without notifying their commanders, they arbitrarily stopped performing their mission and came to the village to search for and detain the killers of the father of their fellow serviceman," the military prosecutor remarked.

In turn, the commander of this unit gave an illegal order to search several private homesteads and detain some relatives and friends of the rebels being searched for, according to Mr Toporikov.

"In the evening on the same date, firearms and grenade launchers were being shot in the village; several homesteads were set on fire, and a local resident, Mr Magomazov, was killed. The investigation is examining the possibility of involvement of both the military men and gunmen in these actions," he explained.

Borozdinovskaia residents claimed from the very beginning that it was servicemen from the Vostok battalion who came to the village, according to NEWSru.com. However, no authority, including the Vostok commander, Sulim Yamadayev, confirmed this information.

A 5 June 2005 report of a police officer on duty also proves that it was a Vostok unit that conducted the "clean-up." In this document, the policeman reports to the Internal Affairs Ministry that around 80 military men from the Vostok battalion arrived in Borozdinovskaia in two armoured personnel carriers and several trucks and cars between 3:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on 4 June.

The military detained eleven people "suspected of having committed crimes" between 3.30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The report indicates their full names: Abakar Aliyev, Magomed Isayev, Ahmed Kurbanaliyev, Magomed Kurbanaliyev, Eduard Lachkov (a Russian who came to see his friend), Ahmed Magomedov, Ahmed Magomedov, Kamil Magomedov, Said Magomedov, Shakhban Magomedov, and Martukh Umarov.

Colonel Sulim Yamadayev, commander of the Vostok battalion, has admitted his servicemen's guilt, but said that the operation had been conducted without his knowledge.

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