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Serdyukov Lawyer Denies Amnesty Petition

A lawyer representing former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Tuesday that his client has not submitted a petition for amnesty.

An unidentified military justice official had earlier told Interfax that Serdyukov, who has been charged with criminal negligence in connection with his work at the Defense Ministry, had filed a request to be considered under an amnesty passed by the State Duma in December.

Serdyukov's lawyer Genrikh Padva declined to comment in detail on the matter, but said that his client has not asked to be amnestied.

The unidentified military justice official said that investigators had previously agreed that after the Sochi Winter Olympics Serdyukov would file a request for the case against him to be closed under the amnesty that freed high-profile inmates like Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina and the Greenpeace "Arctic 30" activists last year.

The amnesty included a section that allows for the release of defenders of the Fatherland, a category some say Serdyukov falls under because he served as defense minister during Russia's war with Georgia in 2008.

Serdyukov is accused of negligence for using Defense Ministry funds and soldiers to build a road to and develop a resort in the Astrakhan region owned by his brother-in-law.

The former minister has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are punishable by one year of community service, a three-month imprisonment, or a fine of 120,000 rubles ($3,380).

Investigators have said that other cases of fraud during Serdyukov's tenure as Defense Minister caused damages amounting to 13 billion rubles ($366 million).

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