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Last Russian tsar's descendant appeals in exoneration case

MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - An appeal has been filed with the Moscow City Court against a district court's refusal to exonerate Russia's last emperor Nicholas II and his family, the plaintiff's lawyer said Tuesday.

Nicholas II and his immediate family were executed near the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in 1918, less than a year after the Bolshevik Revolution.

Grand Duchess Maria Romanov, who heads the Russian Imperial House in exile, claims the killing was a state-sponsored execution rather than murder, and wants a court of justice to clear the monarch of all political charges leveled against him by the Bolsheviks.

German Lukyanov, representing the duchess's interests, said the plaintiff requests that the Moscow City Court invalidate the Tverskoi court's decision not to consider exoneration claims, while upholding the part that voids the Prosecutor General's Office's refusal to exonerate the tsar's family.

"We ask the court to oblige the Prosecutor's General Office to issue an exoneration certificate for the tsar's family," he said.

On November 14, the Tverskoi court ruled that prosecutors' refusal was illegal, but said a decision to exonerate the family could be taken in criminal but not civil proceedings. Prosecutors said then they would decide whether to contest the court's decision, after studying all the materials.

The Tverskoi Court rejected Maria Romanov's suit in May, qualifying the tsar's killing as premeditated murder, but the Moscow City Court ordered new hearings, following an appeal.

The duchess and her lawyer have 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 say is an official death sentence on the tsar.

The remains of Nicholas II 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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