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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.

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.