Chechnya war exhibition removed from EU parliament

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BRUSSELS, Oct 4 (Reuters) The European Parliament has removed an exhibition of pictures showing wounded Chechens, mass graves and other atrocities from Russia's war in Chechnya, drawing accusations of censorship from the organisers.

A parliament spokesman said the 300 pictures were taken down on Tuesday night, hours after the display opened, because some images were too brutal. Also among the prints was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin embracing other world leaders.

''The pictures shown were of a really horrific nature,'' the parliament spokesman said.

The EU lawmakers who organised the exhibition, conservative former Lithuanian president Vytautas Landsbergis and right-wing Polish deputy Konrad Szymanski, called the move a ''dishonourable example of lawlessness of censorship'' in a protest letter.

''It brings shame and moral injustice to this assembly,'' they wrote, demanding that the exhibition be reopened.

Russia has been fighting in Chechnya since 1994, when separatists took up arms against Moscow. Putin vowed to crush the rebels when he took office seven years ago. Since then, Russian forces and local allies have killed several separatist leaders and driven the insurgents into mountain hideouts.

Despite the crackdown, the separatists have pledged to keep attacking Russian forces.

REUTERS SBA AS0625

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