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Swedish prosecutor closes Chechen rebel site

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10:46 CEST+02:00
A Swedish prosecutor yesterday ordered two servers hosting a Chechen rebel website to be impounded.

The website, www.kavkacenter.com, is very critical of Russian policy towards the breakaway republic Chechnya, and supports the Chechen armed struggle against Russia.

The website is hosted on servers owned by a Finnish businessman. Russian and Finnish objections in autumn 2004 resulted in him moving the site to Sweden, where he rents space at a web hosting company. The owner of the hosting company yesterday received a call from the international prosecutor's office in Stockholm, requesting a meeting.

"They came to the office and held a short meeting about our relationship to the client. Someone from the National Criminal Investigation Department also took part," the owner explained.

"The prosecutor then decided to search the premises and to confiscate two servers."

"I see this as an outrage. I don't agree with what's written on the website but I respect their right to free speech."

The prosecutor could not be reached for a comment.

The prosecutor's actions were spurred by a complaint from the Russian Embassy, according to the Finnish owner of the servers and the hosting company owner.

The website is accused of incitement, according to the company owner.

"The material in question is a number of pages in the site's letters pages in which an attack in Nalchik in October 2005 is praised," he told TT.

News agency TT was reporting on Friday night that the internet address was linking to a temporary homepage with identical content, hosted in a server in Lithuania. Lithuania's supreme court recently decided despite Russian opposition that the website can remain up.

However, by Saturday morning, the site's content appeared not to be accessible at the address.

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