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Russian Gets 25 Years For Causing Deaths Of 58 In Arkhangelsk

Aftermath of a gas explosion in a Russian apartment block in Moscow, 7 December 2005 (epa) 16 December 2005 -- A court in northern Russia today sentenced a man to 25 years in jail for blowing up an apartment block in Arkhangelsk.

The Arkhangelsk regional court ruled on 16 December that Sergei Alekseichuk was guilty of causing the deaths of 58 people in 2004 by opening the gas valves of a nine-story apartment block. The court ruled that the defendant acted under the influence of alcohol.

The 27-year-old Alekseichuk, a former municipal gas employee, initially confessed to opening the valves. But he later retracted his words, saying investigators had coerced a confession from him.

His lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.

(ITAR-TASS/Ekho Moskvy)