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Friday 6 September 2019

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Russian soccer players Aleksandr Kokorin (left) and Pavel Mamayev (file photo)

Two Russian soccer players have been granted early release after serving less than half of their prison sentences for hooliganism over beatings they inflicted in Moscow last year.

Krasnodar FC midfielder Pavel Mamayev and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin were convicted in May and sentenced to 18 and 17 months in prison for their roles in two attacks over one day in October.

But they will walk free on parole within 10 days following a decision at a closed-door hearing at a correctional facility in the Belgorod region, September 6 reports said.

In October, Mamayev, Kokorin, and others in their group attacked Denis Pak, an ethnic Korean official from the Industry and Trade Ministry, in a Moscow coffee shop after he reportedly rebuked them for misbehaving.

Video taken by a surveillance camera and broadcast by national television stations showed Pak being hit over the head with a chair and slapped in the face.

In another attack the same day, they beat the driver of TV journalist Olga Ushakova outside a Moscow strip club.

The incidents threatened to dent Russian soccer's reputation months after its largely successful hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

A Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) deputy director, Valery Maksimenko, was quoted as saying that Kokorin and Mamayev "have long been corrected and now they are completely different people."

With reporting by Interfax
Former Russian lawmaker Sergei Petrov (file photo)

Kremlin critic and former lawmaker Sergei Petrov has been put on an international most wanted list for allegedly siphoning off 4 billion rubles ($63.5 million) out of Russia in 2014.

The Basmanny district court in Moscow said on September 6 that Petrov, who is living abroad, has been put on the list amid a request by the federal Investigative Committee to try the 64-year-old in absentia.

"Sergei Petrov is wanted," a spokeswoman for the court was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying.

Petrov, who built a network of imported car dealerships in Russia known as Rolf, served as a lawmaker in Russia's parliament between 2007 and 2016, and was one of the few independent-minded deputies in what is widely considered a rubber-stamp body.

Among other things, Petrov voted against a law that banned the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens and introduced restrictions for U.S. citizens' trips to Russia.

He also voted against another controversial law that expanded the powers of law enforcement agencies and introduced new requirements for data collection and mandatory deciphering in the telecommunications industry.

Nor did Petrov take part in a parliamentary vote on the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014.

Petrov has denied he illegally moved money offshore, saying in a June 28 interview with RFE/RL that he believed he and his business were being targeted for political reasons.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax

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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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