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Russian Court Orders Arrest Of Lawyer Seeking U.S. Asylum

Russian anticorruption lawyer Andrei Stolbunov (file photo)

A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of a Russian anticorruption lawyer who is seeking asylum in the United States.

The Basmanny district court issued an in absentia arrest order on November 28 for Andrei Stolbunov, who is accused of extortion and denies guilt.

Stolbunov told RFE/RL in October that he had applied for U.S. asylum earlier this year because Russian authorities intended to prosecute him on "fabricated" extortion charges.

Alleged victims in the case against Stolbunov accuse him of helping a defense industry enterprise director extort millions of dollars from Pyotr Katsyv, the wealthy former minister of transportation in the Moscow region, and people close to Katsyv, according to the Russian legal news agency RAPSI.

Stolbunov's best-known client was Mikhail Beketov, a journalist and environmental activist who was left with brain damage after a savage beating in the Moscow suburb of Khimki in 2008 and died last year.

Based on reporting by RAPSI and TASS