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Russia court convicts Yukos security chief of contract killings

[JURIST] The Moscow City Court has convicted former Yukos [corporate website; JURIST news archive] security chief Alexei Pichugin [Wikipedia profile] for his involvement in organizing a series of contract killings, sentencing Pichugin to life in prison Monday for organizing three murders and four attempted murders. Pichugin originally received a 24-year sentence [JURIST report], but the Russian Supreme Court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial [JURIST report] in February after prosecutors appealed the sentence as being too lenient.

Pichugin has maintained that the charges against him were politically motivated as part of an effort to connect former Yukos executive Leonid Nevzlin [Forbes profile] to the deaths. Nevzlin, who is currently living in Israel to escape possible prosecution. AP has more.

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