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Court Convicts Russian Defense Executives' Killers

7 October 2005 -- A Moscow city court today sentenced a man to life in prison on charges of murdering the head of the country's biggest manufacturer of air-defense weapons.

Yevgenii Mankov was found guilty of organizing the group of contract killers who shot and killed Igor Klimov and stabbed another defense executive to death in 2003.

Four other defendants received jail terms ranging from 22 to 24 years.

The five men deny the charges, and their lawyers today said they will appeal against the verdict.

The 42-year-old Klimov had been appointed acting head of the Almaz-Antei defense holding by President Vladimir Putin just weeks before his death.

Klimov -- a former intelligence officer -- was considered a close friend of the Russian president.