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Russian Activist Convicted Of Mocking Putin Released

Karim Yamadayev (right), dressed as a judge, reads death sentences for the men portrayed in his video.

SAMARA, Russia -- A court in the Russian city of Samara has found civil rights activist Karim Yamadayev guilty but said he should be released after spending more than a year in detention for mocking President Vladimir Putin and two of his close associates online.

The Central District Military Court on March 4 found Karim Yamadayev guilty of public calls for terrorism and insulting authorities and ordered him to pay a fine of 300,000 rubles ($4,000).

The court also barred Yamadayev, who was held in the Tatarstan region before being moved to Samara, from being an administrator on social networks for 2 1/2 years.

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Yamadayev to six years and seven months in prison, but no jail time was included in the sentence.

Yamadayev, a former police officer in Tatarstan, was arrested in January 2020and charged over a video he posted in late 2019 on his YouTube channel, Judge Gramm.

The video in question features Yamadayev, dressed as a judge, reading death sentences to two men whose heads are covered with black sacks. White signs hang from their necks with the names "Dmitry Peskov" and "Igor Sechin."

Peskov is Putin's long-serving press spokesman, while Sechin is the powerful chief of the state-owned oil giant Rosneft.

Another man in the show portrays a third defendant, who also has his head covered with a black sack and a sign with the name "Vladimir Putin."