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Soviet-Era Lawyer Who Defended Dissidents Dies

Lawyer Semyon Ariya seen here in 2009 (file photo)
MOSCOW -- Lawyer Semyon Ariya, who defended dissidents in the Soviet Union, has died at the age of 90.

The deputy president of the Lawyers' Chamber in Moscow, Yury Borovkov, told journalists that Ariya had died on November 24 after a long illness.

Among many Soviet dissidents, he defended Andrei Sakharov in court. In more recent years, Ariya's clients included former Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, investigative journalist Aleksandr Minkin, and prominent Russian actors Rolan Bykov and Natalya Fateyeva.

Several years ago, the Lawyers’ Chamber in Moscow established the Ariya Medal, which is given once every three years to the region's most prominent and successful lawyer.