A court in Moscow sentenced Pavel Lyuzakov, an independent journalist known for his sympathies with Chechen separatists for two years in jail on Tuesday for illegal possession and carrying of firearms, the Interfax news agency reports.
Lyuzakov, who worked as the editor in chief of the Svobodnoye Slovo (Free Word) newspaper, was arrested in January 2005 and charged with illegally carrying a handgun. Apart from working in Svobodnoye Slovo, Lyuzakov worked as a freelance columnist for the Kavkazcenter web-site — the media outlet of radical Chechen separatists. Lyuzakov’s articles clearly showed that his sympathies were with the separatists. He also used to head the Separatist newspaper and repeatedly published his own views attacking the Russian government for fighting in Chechnya.
After his arrest in January the journalist claimed that he had been framed and the gun was planted on him by security service officers.
One of Lyuzakov’s colleagues, however, recalled in a newspaper interview that Lyuzakov had been convicted at the age of 18 on charges of terrorism. “I don’t remember the details, but it had to do with weapons. He spent a couple of years in prison, and was a grown man when he got out,” the source said.
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