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updated: 8/26/2011 12:24 PM

Suspect arrested in killing of Russian officer

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Associated Press

MOSCOW -- A Chechen man has been arrested and charged in the killing of Yuri Budanov, who kidnapped and strangled a teenage Chechen girl while a colonel in the Russian army, officials said Friday.

Magomed Suleimanov has been charged with murder as part of a group, a spokeswoman for a district court in Moscow, Olga Sutyapova, said on Russia's NTV television. The ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies said investigators believe Suleimanov and another person agreed in April to kill Budanov.

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Budanov was gunned down June 10 in central Moscow after stepping out of a notary public's office. Budanov was arrested in 2000 and convicted of killing 18-year-old Heda Kungayeva while commanding a tank regiment in the second Chechen war. He was released on parole in 2008.

Budanov was one of only a handful of Russian officers to be prosecuted over what rights groups say were widespread atrocities during two wars in Chechnya.

During the trial, Budanov said he strangled Kungayeva in a fit of rage, believing she was a rebel sniper. Lawyers for the woman's family also accused him of raping and torturing her, but the charges were later dropped.

A lawyer who was working to put Budanov back behind bars after his parole, Stanislav Markelov, was gunned down in Moscow in January 2009 along with a journalist walking nearby. A Russian ultranationalist was convicted of the killings, and his girlfriend as an accomplice.

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