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Russian nationalist sentenced to life in prison for murdering lawyer, journalist

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Russian nationalist sentenced to life in prison for murdering lawyer, journalist

2011-05-06 21:49:06 GMT+7 (ICT)

MOSCOW (BNO NEWS) -- A Russian ultranationalist on Friday was sentenced to life in prison for the 2009 murder of a human rights lawyer and a journalist, RIA Novosti reported.

Nikita Tikhonov was sentenced by a Moscow court after being convicted of the assassination of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. His accomplice, Yevgeniya Khasis, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Tikhonov and Khasis, who married in custody, had ties with the banned ultranationalist group Russky Obraz. The couple was found guilty on April 28. During trial, the two ultranationalists denied the murder charges.

The defendants' lawyer said that they will appeal the court's ruling. Tikhonov only admitted charges related to the illegal sale of weapons. He was also ordered to pay 2 million rubles ($73,000) in moral damages and 40,000 rubles ($1,500) in material damages to the victims' families.

In January 2009, the couple shot dead Markelov and Baburova, who worked for the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta, in central Moscow. Investigators said the journalist was killed as a witness to the murder of human rights lawyer.

Markelov was killed shortly after he gave a news conference devoted to the release of a Russian army colonel who allegedly killed a Chechen woman in 2000. He was the lawyer for the woman's family.

"The sentence is severe but I think they deserve it because this murder was not committed in extreme emotional disturbance," said Ludmila Alekseyeva, head of the Russian human rights watch the Moscow Helsinki Group.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-05-06

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