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Russian Lawyer Sues Reuters, Human Rights Watch for Syria Casualty Figures

The case was passed on to a Moscow court after being turned down by a local court, the report cited Karymov as saying. Luke MacGregor / Reuters

A Russian lawyer has sued the Reuters news agency and Human Rights Watch NGO for publishing figures on civilian deaths reportedly caused by Russian air strikes in Syria, the local BK55.ru news website reported Monday.

Omsk lawyer Rinat Karymov has demanded that the organizations present evidence for the figures or retract the information published and pay compensation for moral damages, the report said.

The case was passed on to a Moscow court after being turned down by a local court, the report cited Karymov as saying.

The report did not specify the figures being contested by Karymov.

Human Rights Watch on Oct. 25 published an online statement in which it cited residents of the northern Syrian city of Homs as claiming that 59 civilians, including 33 children, had been killed in two air strikes believed to have been carried out by Russian jets earlier that month.

A day later, Reuters referred to the figures in a report in which it also cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as dismissing the claims as “probably” one of “a huge number of media hoaxes” around Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria.

Karymov considered the information to be detrimental to his reputation, honor and dignity as a Russian citizen, BK55 said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry and presidential administration have promised to provide “evidence of the innocence of the Russian military,” if requested by the court, Karymov was cited as saying in an earlier BK55 report.

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