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Russian student gets 3-year suspended sentence for inciting extremism

The prosecutor demanded a four-year prison sentence for Yegor Zhukov

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Moscow’s Kuntsevsky Court handed down a three-year suspended sentence to Yegor Zhukov, a blogger and student of the Higher School of Economics (HSE), over public calls in the Internet for extremist activity, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom on Friday.

"The court ruled to find Zhukov guilty under Part 2 of Article 280 of the Russian Criminal Court and give him a 3-year suspended sentence," Judge Svetlana Ukhnaleva said announcing the decision.

The court found that Zhukov incited extremist activity by using the Internet, the judge said.

The hearing on Friday was attended by famous Russian actress Chulpan Khamatova, rapper Oxxxymiron, Editor-in-Chief of Novaya Gazeta Dmitry Muratov, journalists and several hundred people.

Zhukov was arrested on August 2 on charges of participating in mass riots. A month later, the student was placed under house arrest upon the investigators’ request until December 27.

Later, the Russian Investigative Committee dropped these charges, but instead accused him of public calls for extremism. According to the case files, the new charges are based on Zhukov’s videos posted on YouTube. An expert of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Korshikov admitted that although he did not find any direct calls for violence in Zhukov’s words, he drew a conclusion that the blogger stirred up violence. The prosecutor demanded a four-year prison sentence for Zhukov.

The court said in its verdict that Zhukov’s guilt was confirmed by search protocols in his house and expert evidence. "Expert Korshikov came to conclusion that Zhukov had called for violent toppling of the constitutional system. The court recognized this evidence as acceptable," the document said.

Zhukov will be also banned from creating and managing his own Internet pages for two years, the court said.