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The court recognised the information spread by the Noviy Peterburg newspaper about Grigory Yavlinsky and YABLOKO to be libel

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Dzerzhinsky Federal Court of the Central District of St.Petersburg satisfied the libel action filed by the Chairman of the Russian democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky against the Noviy Peterburg newspaper.

The trial lasted three years.

Grigory Yavlinsky initiated a libel action after a publication in the Noviy Peterburg newspaper of an article entitled "Who Is Grigory Yavlinsky, What Is YABLOKO and How They Fight Against Our Country and Our People" by Yuri Shutov. The article was published on December 17, 1998 on the threshold of the elections to the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg.

The trial in Dzerzhinsky Court has lasted since June 1999. As it was impossible to prove the libel in the article to be true, the defendants and their representatives used a strategy of delay and procrastination.

Finally the court proclaimed the information contained in the article to be false and defamatory to the honour, dignity and business reputation of Yavlinsky. In particular, the court recognised as libel the information on the alleged "introduction by American secret services of a project entitled "Yabloko", embracing a maximum circle of people and their inclination to "silent submission" and that the plaintiff aimed to "discredit and ruin the educational system in the country".

The court also made the Noviy Peterburg newspaper publish a refutation in accordance with the current law and compensate the plaintiff RUR 5,000 roubles for moral damage trial costs of RUR 1,000. Grigory Yavlinsky will transfer these amounts to orphanage No. 1 of the Gorordets city of Nizhni Novgorod region.

Concerning the second defendant - Yuri Shutov - as he was in custody and then arrested in connection with a criminal affair and could not personally participate in the trial on the civil action for two years, Yavlinsky recalled his suit against Shutov.

See also:
Freedom of Speech and Media Law in Russia

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