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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another Russian Journalist Goes on Trial

The Moscow Times reports that yet another journalist is going on trial in Russia for daring to report facts the Kremlin doesn't approve of. Welcome to the Neo-Soviet Union:

A Moscow journalist went on trial Tuesday on charges of inciting ethnic hatred in reports about the war in Chechnya.

Boris Stomakhin was editor of the monthly newspaper Radikalnaya Politika and contributed articles to the rebel Kavkaz Center web site.

The Butyrsky District Court rejected appeals Tuesday from defense lawyers for Stomakhin to be released for the duration of the trial, a court spokeswoman said. The court then adjourned until Thursday.

Stomakhin's mother, Regina, joined about 20 other supporters outside the northern Moscow court to protest the treatment of her son, who walks with crutches after having fallen from the fourth story of a building during his arrest in March.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says the case is politically motivated. "He has been kept in a cell all this time, despite the fact that he is practically paralyzed," Stomakhin's lawyer Alexei Golubev said. Stomakhin suffered spinal injuries and a broken ankle in the fall, Golubev said.

Stomakhin wrote political commentary pieces published on Kavkazcenter.com and in Radikalnaya Politika. He frequently called Russia's presence in Chechnya an "occupation," and compared President Vladimir Putin to Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic.

Stomakhin had evaded capture for more than two years. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.

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