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Court accuses Klebnikov case defense lawyer of misconduct


MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court has submitted a declaration to the Chamber of Attorneys on infringements of professional etiquette by a defense lawyer in the murder trial of journalist Paul Klebnikov, a court spokeswoman said Thursday.

"The report has been submitted for the [Moscow] Chamber of Attorneys to take the necessary measures," Anna Usacheva said.

In its report, the court accused Ruslan Koblev, a lawyer for defendant Fail Sadretdinov, of violating professional regulations and ignoring the presiding judge's resolutions.

Klebnikov, 41, the editor of the Russian version of Forbes magazine, was murdered in Moscow on July 9, 2004. He was a United States national.

The court's decision came following a petition from public prosecutor Dmitry Shokhin.

Court hearings in the trial - which started Tuesday - have been suspended until January 18.

Koblev responded to the court's complaints Wednesday by calling the move "a planned act" that was intended to drive a wedge between Sadretdinov and his lawyers.

"Since we are confident of the correctness of our legal position, we consider the acts of the public prosecutor to be an attack on the defense team. Almost everyone, including Sadretdinov's defense, has been subjected to very harsh pressure," he said.

The trial is closed to the public, on the basis that the case involves secret documents.

Two Chechens, Musa Vakhayev and Kazbek Dukuzov - who were arrested by Belarus police in Minsk on November 17 last year - are also being tried alongside Sadretdinov.

Klebnikov gained a reputation for investigating murky post-Soviet business dealings and corruption. Prosecutors claim Dukuzov, Vakhayev and Sadretdinov killed him on the orders of Chechen businessman Khozh-Akhmed Nukhayev, who wanted revenge for a critical book, Conversations with a Barbarian, which featured him as the central figure.

Three other suspects are on the wanted list.

Public prosecutors have also said that the same group was involved in the killing of former Chechen deputy prime minister Yan Sergunin, in June 2004, in an attack on businessman Alexei Pichugin, and in banditry and extortion.

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