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Opposition Journalist In South Ossetia Given Suspended Sentence

Fatima Margieva's colleagues say the charges against her were politically motivated.
TSKHINVALI -- A journalist in Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of illegal possession of weapons.

Fatima Margieva, the editor of the newspaper "Pozitsiya" and a teacher at the University of South Ossetia, was allowed to leave the court a free woman.

She had been taken into custody in February after weapons, ammunition, and explosives were found in her house in May last year.

It is not clear at this moment if Margieva plans to appeal the verdict. She pleaded not guilty, and her lawyers and colleagues say her case was politically motivated.

Margieva is a member of the opposition People's Party of South Ossetia.

The party's leader, Roland Kelekhsayev, told RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus in March that two other members of his party asked him to help them gain political asylum abroad, as they are denied jobs in South Ossetia and subject to constant harassment.