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Khamzayev, Prominent Chechen Lawyer, Dies

June 13, 2004

MOSCOW (AP) _ Abdulla Khamzayev, a prominent Chechen lawyer who worked on Russia’s first major trial on military abuses in Chechnya, has died. He was 67.

Khamzayev died overnight in a Moscow hospital, his daughter Leila Khamzayeva told Russia’s Echo of Moscow radio. He had suffered from complications associated with diabetes.

Khamzayev represented the family of an 18-year-old Chechen woman killed in 2000. Col. Yuri Budanov had admitted strangling Heda Kungayeva but said he did it in a fit of rage during an interrogation.

A military court found him insane at the time of the killing and said he couldn’t be held accountable, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling and in July sentenced Budanov to 10 years in prison.

The case was closely watched as a yardstick for Russia’s commitment to ending military abuses in Chechnya.

Khamzayev also attempted to bring defense officials to trial for allegedly bombing a peaceful Chechen village in 2000, and he represented the interests of other victims of alleged military violence in Chechnya.

Khamzayev had also been mentioned in the Russian media as a possible candidate for the Chechen presidency. An election has been called for Aug. 29 to replace President Akhmad Kadyrov, who was killed last month in a bombing.

Echo of Moscow radio said that Khamzayev’s body would be flown home to Chechnya for burial. Details about funeral services were not immediately available.

Update hourly