Two convicted in Russian lawmaker's murder

July 1, 2005 at 4:42 AM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 1 (UPI) -- A St. Petersburg court has convicted two men in the 1998 murder of liberal Russian lawmaker Galina Starovoitova, The Moscow Times reported Friday.

Vitaly Akishin was sentenced to 23 ½ years in prison for firing the gun that killed Starovoitova in the stairwell of her apartment building, and Yury Kolchin, a former military intelligence officer, was sentenced to 20 years for organizing the murder.

Four other suspects were cleared. Two more suspects are to go on trial soon, while a second gunman and two other suspects remain at large.

A spokesman for the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, said the service is still trying to identify who put out the contract.

Five of the defendants were members of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, but party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky testified during the trial that members of his party were not involved in the murder.

Starovoitova, the outspoken leader of the Democratic Russia party, was 52 years old when she was shot dead in her St. Petersburg apartment building on the evening of Nov. 20, 1998. She was struck by three bullets.

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