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Tatar Newspaper Editor Gets Suspended Sentence


Damir Shaykhetdinov

Damir Shaykhetdinov

A Tatar opposition newspaper editor convicted of propagating extremist views has been given an 18-month suspended sentence by a Chally court, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Damir Shaykhetdinov, the editor in chief of the "Chally Yashlary" newspaper, was found guilty of printing material from the self-proclaimed pan-Tatar National Assembly (TMM).

In an open letter issued in December 2008, the TMM called on the international community to recognize Tatarstan's independence from Russia. The call came just a few months after Russia recognized the independence of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Shaykhetdinov told RFE/RL that he rejects all the charges against him and will appeal the verdict to Tatarstan's Supreme Court.

TMM's chairwoman, Fauzia Bayramova, is also on trial in a separate case. She is charged with fomenting interethnic hatred in Tatarstan.

Bayramova declared in November that she can no longer live in Russia because of severe persecution from authorities and is seeking to emigrate. She says Tatar officials are helping Russian Federal authorities "persecute Tatar patriots in the republic."

Tatarstan's Justice Ministry ruled in November that the activities of the TMM, which was established by Tatar nationalists in 1992, should be suspended for four months.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in Kazan denied an appeal by Irek Murtazin, a blogger and former press secretary of Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev who was sentenced to 21 months in prison for libeling his former boss and "instigating hatred and hostility" toward a social group.
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