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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tatarstan Official Sentenced in Libel Case

A Kazan court sentenced journalist and former spokesman for Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev to 21 months in a penal colony Thursday, finding him guilty of libel and inciting hatred, RIA-Novosti reported.

Irek Murtazin wrote on his blog on Sept. 12, 2008, that Shaimiyev — who has led the republic since 1991 — died while vacationing in Turkey.

The news turned out to be false, and Shaimiyev later pressed charges against Murtazin. The court cleared Murtazin of intruding on the president’s private life. Murtazin worked as a spokesman for Shaimiyev from 1999 to 2002. He said he would appeal.