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Sentence by sleeping judge annulled

March 4, 2013 at 2:16 PM

BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Russia, March 4 (UPI) -- A court in Russia's Far East has reversed a sentence handed down by a judge who fell asleep during a trial last year, lawyers said Monday.

A video of judge Yevgeny Makhno sleeping during the fraud trial of Andrei Naletov and Sergei Khabarov last year was posted on YouTube in January by defense lawyer Vladislav Nikitenko, RIA Novosti reported.

The video shows Makhno napping through a speech given by Nikitenko in court, prompting an outcry by critics of the Russian justice system, forcing the judge to resign.

Naletov and Khabarov, who were sentenced to 5-6 years in jail, respectively, have been released from prison on the stipulation they remain in the city of Blagoveshchensk, Nikitenko said.

A court spokesman told RIA Novosti that the sentences were not canceled because the judge fell asleep, but because of violations in the investigation.

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