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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 04:32 GMT 05:32 UK
Ex Soviet officer denies Estonia murders
A former Soviet police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity, in the case of three Estonian fighters against Communist rule who were murdered in the early 1950s.

The retired officer, Vladimir Penart, denied the charges on the opening day of his trial in the Estonian town of Valga.

Mr Penart, who is 76 and a Russian citizen, is accused of organizing the killing of the three Estonians, who were fighting the Soviet presence in their country.

Russia has criticised Estonia for putting him on trial, saying the charges were based on a politicized evaluation of events in Estonia after the Second World War.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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