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Prosecutors decline out-of-court settlement on killing of tsar

MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Prosecutor General's Office Thursday rejected an offer of an out-of-court settlement with a descendant of the Romanov imperial dynasty who is seeking to have the country's last monarch cleared of all political charges laid by the Bolsheviks.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who heads the Russian Imperial House in exile, claims that Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were killed on orders from the Bolshevik government.

A Moscow district court, which has resumed hearings on the Nicholas II exoneration case, suggested the sides settle out of court, but prosecutors brushed the option aside, maintaining that the emperor's killing was a premeditated murder rather than a state-ordered execution, as the plaintiff claims.

Lawyer German Lukyanov, representing Maria Romanov's interests in court, said:

"The Russian Prosecutor General's Office holds that members of the imperial family fell victim to common criminals, and not to political repression."

Earlier this year, the Tverskoi court cited the same arguments when it refused to honor the plaintiff's request that the tsar be officially exonerated. But the Moscow City Court, with which she lodged an appeal, then ordered new hearings.

Maria Romanov and her lawyer substantiated their claim with documents from the archives of the Federal Security Service, including a July 1998 ruling closing a criminal investigation into the killing of Nicholas II, as well as a regional government resolution they said is an official death sentence on the tsar.

The Tverskoi court will continue hearings October 11.

The remains of Nicholas II, killed in 1918 outside the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, were buried in 1998 with honors in the former imperial capital, St. Petersburg. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him two years later.

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