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Russia Sentences Dzhemilev's Son To Five Years In Prison

Khaiser Dzhemilev has said he shot his friend by accident.
Khaiser Dzhemilev has said he shot his friend by accident.

A Russian court has sentenced the son of a leading Crimean Tatar figure to five years in prison for the equivalent of manslaughter, a ruling his lawyer says is illegal.

Khaiser Dzhemilev, son of veteran Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, was arrested in May 2013 by Ukrainian authorities in connection with the shooting death of his friend. Khaiser Dzhemilev has said he shot his friend by accident.

After Crimea's annexation by Russia in March 2014, the Moscow-backed authorities took over the case and transferred him to the Krasnodar region in southern Russia. Mustafa Dzhemilev has accused Russia of holding his son hostage.

Dzhemilev faced a possible murder conviction, but a Krasnodar court on June 2 found him guilty of inflicting death by negligence, which carries a lesser sentence. He was also found guilty of stealing and possessing a firearm.

Dzhemilev's lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said on June 10 he will appeal.

According to Polozov, a court in Kyiv previously sentenced Dzhemilev to three years and eight months on the same charges. He said Russia cannot by law sentence a citizen of another country for a crime he has already been convicted of at home.

Polozov also said that Russia ignored a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that said that Russia must release Khaiser from detention as he is a Ukrainian citizen and committed a crime in Ukraine against another Ukrainian citizen.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, who strongly protested the annexation of Crimea and is currently living in Kyiv, was barred in May from entering the peninsula and has claimed Russia was holding his son hostage.

The elder Dzhemilev, 71, is a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a well-known Soviet-era human rights activist. He served six jail sentences in Soviet prison camps from 1966 to 1986.

He is also known for going on a 303-day hunger strike -- the longest in the history of the Soviet human rights movement.

With reporting by UNIAN and TASS
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