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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Critical Journalist Jailed for 2 Years

A Moscow journalist who wrote critical stories for a Chechen rebel news site was sentenced Monday to two years in a penal colony on charges that he illegally purchased a gun, his lawyer said.

Moscow's Ostankinsky District Court sentenced Pavel Lyuzakov to serve out the sentence in a prison village -- a conviction that effectively amounts to internal exile, lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said.

Lyuzakov was detained on Jan. 20 about five minutes after he bought the gun from a friend near the VDNKh metro station, she said. Lyuzakov said he thought the gun was a simple gas pistol.

Human rights advocate Alexander Podrabinek said Lyuzakov could have angered authorities by contributing to the Kavkaz Center web site, which is hosted on servers abroad and Moscow has long sought to shut down. His stories were critical of the government's handling of the war in Chechnya. Another Moscow journalist who wrote for the web site left the country to avoid prosecution last year, Podrabinek said.