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Two Turkish Journalists Jailed for Illegal Entry to Russia

Makhachkala, Russia, July 8 (RFE/RL) -- Itar-Tass reports that two Turkish journalists who were arrested last year for illegally entering Russia on their way to Chechnya were sentenced today to three years in jail.

The agency reports that Talip Ozchelik and Mekhmet Ali Tekin were sentenced by a court in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan.

The two journalists were arrested in Dagestan's Mageramkent region, bordering Azerbaijan last October while trying to circumvent a Russian border post.

The two journalists had said they were planning to cover the conflict in Chechnya, but had been unable to obtain visas. News reports say that the two Turks had already visited Chechnya with Russian visas earlier this year and their articles and photos had been published in a Turkish newspaper.

Agence France Presse quoted an unnamed Turkish Embassy spokesman in Moscow as saying the embassy has been informed of the two journalists' arrest and trial. The spokesman said the embassy could not immediately confirm the verdict.