#4 - JRL 7002
Appeal Planned in Slain Chechen Teen Case
January 1, 2003
MOSCOW (AP) - The lawyer for the family of a teenage Chechen girl strangled by a Russian colonel said Wednesday he would work to overturn the verdict that found the soldier mentally ill but not criminally responsible.
Col. Yuri Budanov, who admitted killing 18-year-old Heda Kungayeva in 2000, was confined to a psychiatric hospital in Tuesday's court decision.
Budanov was the first Russian military officer to face trial for abuses in Chechnya, where a war with separatist rebels is in its fourth year. The trial was closely watched as an indicator of whether Russia was resolved to discipline its troops in the republic.
Chechens and human rights organizations say abuses including summary executions, rapes and looting are widespread.
``We will press in all the existing courts for getting the verdict canceled and for the case to be reinvestigated by a different panel of judges,'' lawyer Abdulla Khamzayev said on Ekho Moskvy radio.
Khamzayev said an appeal would be filed to the Supreme Court's Military Collegium within 10 days.
Kungayeva's family says she was dragged from her home at night, raped and murdered during a drunken rampage by soldiers.