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Moscow Court Upholds Verdict Against Journalist


Aygul Makhmutova in a Moscow courtroom

Aygul Makhmutova in a Moscow courtroom

A Moscow court has rejected the appeal of a jail sentence given to journalist Aygul Makhmutova, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Makhmutova, 24, was sentenced in September to 5 1/2 years in prison for fraud, extortion, and assaulting police.

Makhmutova, a native of Bashkortostan, worked in Moscow for the community paper "Sud'ba Kuzminok." In 2006, she wrote about plans by local businesses to build a parking garage on a children's playground.

She accused the Kuzminki district head of corruption and wrote an open letter to the Moscow mayor asking for help.

Makhmutova's lawyer says the charges against her were fabricated by the government "to punish her for her stories" about corruption.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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