Russia 110419 Basic Political Developments

Prosecutors to appeal verdict in trial of Jehovah's Witnesses leader

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Prosecutors to appeal verdict in trial of Jehovah's Witnesses leader
07:54 19/04/2011

Prosecutors in Russia's Republic of Altai said on Tuesday they will appeal a decision of a court in the town of Gorno-Altaisk to clear the leader of a local branch of Jehovah's Witnesses of charges for circulating extremist materials.

The court acquitted Alexander Kalistratov on April 14 citing the lack of evidence.

"We categorically disagree with Kalistratov's acquittal and will lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Altai to order new hearings of this case," a spokesman for the local prosecutor's office said.

Alexander Kalistratov, 34, has been accused of disseminating banned literature after he shared some of the group's publications with the residents of Gorno-Altaisk.

According to investigation, Kalistratov disseminated books, brochures and magazines, which allegedly "incited religious enmity and hatred," between October 2008 and December 2009.

The trial started in October 2010 with the testimony of witnesses on the side of the prosecution.

The investigation involved the analysis of 48 religious articles, seized during the probe, with the help of experts in linguists, philosophy and religious studies.

Kalistratov faced 160 hours of community works if convicted.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, which has some seven million followers worldwide and over 200,000 in Russia, have already been banned in a number of Russian regions and in some former Soviet republics.

Last June similar charges were laid against the group in the southwestern Siberian city of Omsk.

In 2009, the Russian Supreme Court's judicial chamber for civil cases upheld a regional court ruling to ban the organization's branch in the southern Russian city of Taganrog.

The Jehovah's Witnesses branch in the Russian capital was dissolved by district court ruling in 2004, but the European Court of Human Rights declared the decision illegal last June.

GORNO-ALTAISK, April 19 (RIA Novosti)

April 19, 2011 10:52

Court rejects complaint against prosecution of Bank of Moscow first vice president

MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - Moscow's Tverskoi court has ruled that the prosecution of Bank of Moscow First Vice President Dmitry Akulinin in the criminal inquiry into a fraudulent extension of a loan, is lawful.

"Defense lawyer Timofei Gridnev's complaint against the order by senior investigator of the Interior Ministry's Investigative Committee to prosecute Akulinin as a defendant in the case in compliance with Article 125 of the Criminal Code, has been rejected," Tverskoi Court's press secretary, Yekaterina Ilyina, told Interfax on Tuesday,

The defense lawyer filed the complaint on April 7, she said,

Neither Bank of Moscow President Andrei Borodin, nor his defense lawyers have filed a similar complaint with the court, Ilyina said.

A source close to Borodin told Interfax early in April that Borodin had left Russia in connection with a criminal investigation into an about 13 billion ruble loan, fraudulently extended to the Premier Estate company.

The money received under the loan arrangements were allegedly transferred to the personal bank account of Inteco head Yelena Baturina.

An investigator on March 28 ruled to prosecute Borodin and his deputy Akulinin on counts of abuse of authority. But no charges were officially brought against them as neither of them reported to the court at an appointed time.

In Interfax source in law enforcement services later confirmed that Borodin was placed on a wanted list on April 6.

Borodin said on April 9 that if the situation takes a negative turn he would have to consider applying to Britain for political asylum.

Moscow's Tverskoi court on April 12 suspended Borodin and Akulinin as Bank of Moscow president and first vice president at investigators' request.



Diplomat from Kuwait went missing in Moscow

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 06:00 GMT 10:00 MCK
The representative of the Embassy of Kuwait in Russia Almansur Mishaal Mansour went to the police claiming a missing employee.
As reported by law enforcement authorities of the capital, the third secretary of embassy Alokaab Saleh Mohammed disappeared on the night of April 17. He was last seen on Arbat Street, 21, when he sat in his car.
Police are conducting search of the missing diplomat.
Forest fire hazard level raised in Russia’s Far Eastern Primorye

19.04.2011, 11.35

VLADIVOSTOK, April 19 (Itar-Tass) -- Forest fire hazard level in southern districts of Russia’s Far Eastern Primorsky Territory has been raised to “high,” a spokesman for the territorial meteorological service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

The weather here has been hot, dry and windy, and meteorologists forecast no heavy rains in the next few days.

The fire hazard level is fixed daily based on weather monitoring results.

In the past 24 hours anole, 12 wildfires with an overall area of 357.5 hectares were reported in the Primorsky territory, all of them were extinguished.

Since the beginning of April, there have been 150 forest fires, which is far more than at the same period last year.

Over 8,000 people left without electricity in central Russia

19.04.2011, 11.34

MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) -- More than 8,000 people are left without electricity in central Russian Leningrad and Yaroslavl regions because of stormy winds, a spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

On Monday, strong winds caused rolling electricity cuts in settlements of the Moscow, Leningrad and Yaroslavl regions, the spokesman said.

Electricity supplies to settlements in the Moscow region have been resumed, while 174 settlements with an overall population of 5,923 people in the Leningrad region and 117 settlements with a population of more than 2,100 in the Yaroslavl region are still cut off electricity.

It is planned to resume electricity supplies to these settlements within the day, the spokesman added.

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