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Russia seeks release of suspects in Qatar

April 6, 2004 at 8:29 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, April 6 (UPI) -- Russian officials are trying to free two nationals accused in Qatar of killing a top Chechen exile, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

"The Russian federation is taking all necessary efforts in order that Russian citizens who are now detained in Qatar can return to the homeland," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told Ekho Moskvy radio Tuesday. His comments were later reported by the Itar-Tass news agency.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad al-Thani said Monday two Russian nationals were being held , charged with involvement in the Feb. 13 slaying of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev -- a prominent Chechen secessionist leader. He died when his car was blown up.

"Moscow sees the arrest of the Russian nationals as invalid," Itar-Tass said. The official Russian position is that "neither Russia nor Russian citizens detained in Qatar" have any relation to the slaying.

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