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Russia Acquits 'Primorsky Partisans' Of Murder In Retrial

Vadim Kovtun (left) and Alexei Nikitin stand outside a Vladivostok courtroom after being cleared of murder following a retrial.

A court in Russia's Far East has cleared five imprisoned men who were originally convicted of a notorious 2009 quadruple murder.

In a retrial ordered by the Supreme Court last year, a Vladivostok court found insufficient evidence to convict the gang of young men, known as the Primorsky Partisans.

The court freed group members Vadim Kovtun and Aleksei Nikitin, who have served six years in prison since their 2010 conviction.

Three other members of the group were cleared of the mass killing but will remain in custody as they are serving longer sentences for other crimes, including the murder of two policemen.

The Primorsky Partisans made headlines across the country in 2010 when they declared a guerrilla war on local police to protest corruption and lawlessness by the officers.

The group -- then made up of teenagers -- were finally captured after a shoot-out near the Chinese border and jailed in 2010 for a series of violent attacks on police officers.

Two members of the gang were killed in the shoot-out.

Many Russians sympathized with the gang and their battle against police.

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