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    Bailiffs tear down country houses outside Moscow

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    PYATNITSA village (Moscow region), August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Bailiffs accompanied by commandos have started to tear down country houses built on the bank of the Istra reservoir here, outside Moscow.

    The houses are being destroyed by court order because they were illegally built in a water conservation zone, security officials said.

    Contrary to the bailiffs' statements, the owners of the country houses said their case was under consideration in the Supreme Court.

    "They caught us unawares," they said. "The execution has been suspended until August 8," said one of the women, accusing the bailiffs of violating the law on execution.

    The bailiffs, however, said the Supreme Court had received no documents.

    About 40 builders have already dismantled one of the 13 houses in question in the village, which has been sealed off.

    About 60 residents from the houses scheduled to be destroyed have gathered at the site.

    No heavy equipment is being used. The work will continue for another few days, the Federal Bailiff Service said.

    The Ministry of Natural Resources launched the campaign against the houses in April 2003. Bailiffs earlier tried to dismantle the houses twice but the owners refused to let them in.

    The owners of the houses will have to reimburse the government three times over for the costs accrued in the deconstruction, the spokesmen said.

    The spokesmen said the owners would not be compensated.

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