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British Judge Rules Soviet-Era Dissident Bukovsky Too Ill To Stand Trial

Vladimir Bukovsky arriving at court in 2016.
Vladimir Bukovsky arriving at court in 2016.

A British judge has ruled that Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovsky is too ill to stand trial on charges of creating and possessing indecent images of children.

The 73-year-old Bukovsky pleaded not guilty at an initial hearing in Britain in 2015.

Bukovsky has "serious illnesses of the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys," the BBC quoted Cambridge Crown Court Judge Gareth Hawkesworth as saying during a hearing where the trial was scheduled to begin.

“If his health recovers sufficiently for him to stand trial the matter could be revived,” he added.

Bukovsky held a hunger strike between April 20 and May 16 to protest the charges, which he says he "absolutely denies."

Bukovsky also has appealed to the High Court of Justice in London, saying he is a victim of a smear campaign by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).

During the 1960s and 1970s, Bukovsky spent 12 years in Soviet prisons and psychiatric hospitals on charges of spreading anti-Soviet propaganda.

He has lived in Britain since 1976 and is now a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Bukovsky also has publicly accused the Kremlin of killing former Russian intelligence officer Aleksandr Litvinenko in London with radiation poisoning in 2006.

Based on reporting by BBC and The Independent