Russian Supreme Court Trims Sentence Of Ex-Neo-Nazi Activist Jailed For Murders Of Journalist, Lawyer

Russia's Supreme Court has shortened the sentence of one of two former neo-Nazi activists convicted and jailed for their involvement in the killing of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in 2009.

The court on January 27 said it had dropped charges of illegal weapon trafficking and document forgery against Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgenia Khasis and cut Khasis's 18-year prison term for assisting in the murder by one year. Tikhonov's life sentence was left unchanged.

In December, the Supreme Court annulled its previous decision to uphold the sentences after the European Court of Human Rights ruled in February that the 2011 trial of the two former members of the neo-Nazi group known as Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (BORN), was not fair. The court ordered a review of the case.

Khasis's lawyer, Dmitry Agranovsky, said on January 27 that the Supreme Court's ruling will be appealed at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Markelov and Baburova, who were known for crusading against ultranationalist violence, were shot dead in broad daylight near the Kremlin in 2009.

In 2011, Tikhonov was found guilty of murdering Markelov and Baburova and sentenced to life in prison. Khasis was handed an 18-year prison term for assisting Tikhonov.

Markelov had represented investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in 2006, as well as civilians in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya who were abused by Russian troops.

The killings sparked accusations that the Kremlin was not doing enough to hunt down the attackers of activists and journalists at the time.

Based on reporting by Meduza, TASS, Novaya Gazeta, and Interfax