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30 Chechen Rebels Hand in Weapons, say Russian Officials - 2003-06-09


Russian officials say more than 30 Chechen guerrillas have handed in their weapons in response to a limited amnesty, which came into effect Saturday.

The measure, passed by Russia's lower house of parliament the State Duma Friday, gives Chechen fighters until September 1 to turn over their weapons.

The amnesty does not cover those accused of serious crimes, and excludes foreigners who joined the separatists.

The move by the Kremlin is seen as a good will gesture aimed at easing tensions in the breakaway republic.

A separate provision of the amnesty pardons some Russian soldiers accused of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

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