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Russian Journalist Released After Charges Reduced

Nikolai Goshko (file photo) 26 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian journalist sentenced to five years in jail for criminal defamation has been released after serving less than three months.

In June, a court in the western city of Smolensk convicted Nikolai Goshko after he allegedly defamed three local officials in a 2000 radio broadcast, saying they were involved in the murder of a journalist.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern over the sentence.

Goshko was freed from jail after prosecutors agreed to change the charge of criminal defamation to the less serious charge of criminal insult.