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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 18:19 GMT 19:19 UK
Russia jails liberal MP's killers
Galina Starovoitova
Starovoitova was a close ally of former President Boris Yeltsin
A Russian court has sentenced two men to long prison terms for the murder of liberal MP Galina Starovoitova in 1998.

The organiser of the attack, Yuri Kolchin, was sentenced to 20 years, and one of the assailants, Vitaly Akishin, got 23 years.

Ms Starovoitova, an outspoken champion of democracy, was shot dead in November 1998 on the staircase of her apartment block in St Petersburg.

Four other defendants were acquitted over the murder.

The six suspects were arrested in November 2002.

Son welcomes verdict

Ms Starovoitova's son, Platon Borschevsky, told the BBC News website he was "very satisfied" with outcome of the investigation.

"There was no doubt that it was a political murder.

"It could have been connected with the regional elections - she was fighting corruption in St Petersburg, uncovering things, planning to give TV interviews. It is difficult to point a finger with a good degree of accuracy," he said.

The only witness to the killing, her personal assistant Ruslan Linkov, was himself critically wounded but survived. He insisted it was a political murder.

The killing caused outrage in Russia and abroad.

She was an outspoken critic of communists, extreme nationalists and organised crime.

The prosecution concluded that her murder had been ordered by unidentified political enemies.

The prosecution described Kolchin as a former military intelligence officer who was sacked from the armed forces and later worked as the chauffeur of a gangland boss in St Petersburg.

Investigators are continuing their efforts to find out who ordered the murder.

The death of democracy
04 Dec 98 |  From Our Own Correspondent

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