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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Editor on Trial in Extremism Case

A newspaper editor is on trial in an Ufa court on charges of extremist activity for publishing two commentaries calling for the resignation of Bashkortostan's leader, Murtaza Rakhimov.

Viktor Shmakov, editor of the Provintsialniye Vesti, faces up to five years in jail for publishing the articles that claimed corruption and human rights abuses in the region.

The articles were written by a local opposition leader, Airat Dilmukhametov, who also faces the same charge in the case.

The trial started March 21.

Expressing its alarm at the trial, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for the case to be dropped immediately.

"Political criticism is not a crime," the group's executive director, Joel Simon, said in a statement.

"The prosecution of our colleague Viktor Shmakov is another disturbing example of Russian authorities' use of the full force of criminal law to stifle critical reporting and opinion," he said.