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Russian Actor, Kremlin Critic Yefremov Sent To Hospital From Courtroom

Yefremov attends his trial in a Moscow court on August 5.
Yefremov attends his trial in a Moscow court on August 5.

Russian actor and outspoken Kremlin critic Mikhail Yefremov, who is charged with killing a person while driving under the influence of alcohol, has been sent to hospital from a court in Moscow where his trial was under way.

The Presnensky district court on August 11 had to stop the high-profile trial after Yefremov felt unwell. An ambulance took him away later.

The court's press service said the trial will resume on August 12. If convicted, Yefremov, who in recent years has been criticizing the Kremlin in his one-man performances, may face up to 12 years in prison.

Yefremov's lawyer Elman Pashayev said his client lost consciousness and is currently unable to attend the trial.

Russian media reports quote unnamed medical personnel as saying that Yefremov has stroke symptoms.

Police say Yefremov was inebriated when he drove his car at a high speed into an oncoming lane in central Moscow on the evening of June 8, hitting another car.

Yefremov did not suffer any injuries in the accident, but the driver of the other vehicle, identified as 57-year-old Sergei Zakharov, was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries and died hours later.

After Zakharov was pronounced dead, Yefremov was charged with "causing a deadly traffic accident while driving under the influence" and later placed under house arrest.

Yefremov’s trial started on August 5. He pleaded not guilty, saying "I do not remember anything."

Authorities later said that medical tests confirmed that Yefremov had traces of drugs, including cocaine, in his blood at the moment of the accident.

Performances by the 56-year-old Yefremov satirizing President Vladimir Putin and his policies have been very popular in recent years.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax

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