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Moscow court sentences nationalists

April 12, 2012, 18:29 UTC+3

Astashin's common law wife, the only woman among the defendants, has been sentenced to eight years

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MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Thursday sentenced members of the nationalist Autonomous Combat Terrorist Organization /ABTO/ to various jail terms. The punishment ranged from a three-year suspended sentence to 13 years in jail. The court found the ABTO activists guilty of a series of blasts, arsons and preparations for terrorist attack in the Moscow region.

The harshest penalty was meted out to gang leader Ivan Astashin. He was sentenced to 13 years in a maximum security penitentiary. In addition, the court ruled on two-year restriction of freedom after his release from prison: he cannot change his place of residence and employment and periodically report to inspection bodies.

Astashin's common law wife, the only woman among the defendants, has been sentenced to eight years.

ABTO activist Kirill Krasavchickov was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security prison plus two years of restricted freedom, Alexander Bokarev was sentenced to 11 years in a maximum security prison, Maxim Ivanov and Andrei Markha were sentenced to ten years each, and Bogdan Golonkov - to 9.5years.

The court gave a softer sentence to Grigory Lebedev - six years in a general regime penitentiary. Of the ten defendants during the inquest, just two persons were on recognizance - Yaroslav Rudny and Igor Zaitsev -- who had testified against their associates.

Rudny was sentenced to six years in a penal colony and taken in custody in the courtroom, and Zaitsev was given a three-year suspended sentence with four-year probation.

The court fined the defendants almost two million roubles in favor of the insurance companies that had to cover the damage caused by their actions.

The lawyers said they would appeal against the verdict. The argued that not a single person had been hurt in the actions by their clients and that only property had been damaged.

Many relatives and friends of the defendants were in the courtroom to hear the verdict. The authorities called additional police details, but no incidents were reported.

The prosecutor had classified the gang's acts as terrorism, while the defense argued that they were acts of hooliganism.

The trial began last December. The case was reviewed by three professional judges and the hearings were open to the press.

Gang leader Astashin was accused of four episodes of terrorism, illegal production and keeping of explosives, inciting ethnic hate and calls for extremism.

The city department of the Investigative Committee said he was detained before he was able to carry through his plan to stage an explosion at a Moscow thermal power plant.

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