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Russian Soccer Players Jailed Over Assaults Released Early

Russian soccer players Aleksandr Kokorin (left) and Pavel Mamayev (file photo)

Two Russian soccer players have been granted early release after serving less than half of their prison sentences for hooliganism over beatings they inflicted in Moscow last year.

Krasnodar FC midfielder Pavel Mamayev and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kokorin were convicted in May and sentenced to 18 and 17 months in prison for their roles in two attacks over one day in October.

But they will walk free on parole within 10 days following a decision at a closed-door hearing at a correctional facility in the Belgorod region, September 6 reports said.

In October, Mamayev, Kokorin, and others in their group attacked Denis Pak, an ethnic Korean official from the Industry and Trade Ministry, in a Moscow coffee shop after he reportedly rebuked them for misbehaving.

Video taken by a surveillance camera and broadcast by national television stations showed Pak being hit over the head with a chair and slapped in the face.

In another attack the same day, they beat the driver of TV journalist Olga Ushakova outside a Moscow strip club.

The incidents threatened to dent Russian soccer's reputation months after its largely successful hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

A Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) deputy director, Valery Maksimenko, was quoted as saying that Kokorin and Mamayev "have long been corrected and now they are completely different people."

With reporting by Interfax