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#20 - JRL 2007-183 - JRL Home
Educated Media Head's Plea For Trial In Absentia Rejected

MOSCOW. Aug 27 (Interfax) - The Criminal Investigation Committee of Russia's Interior Ministry has rejected a plea for an in absentia trial of a case in which the head of a nonprofit humanitarian and educational organization disputes a charge of illegal importation of money, a lawyer said.

Manana Aslamazian, head of Educated Media, who is abroad, was charged in January 2007 after she tried to import about 10,000 euro into Russia without declaring it, while the law then permitted a maximum of $10,000.

Lawyers argue that the sum Aslamazian tried to bring in, equivalent to about 70,000 rubles, was so small that failure to declare it falls into the category of offenses that, under Russian law, are to be dealt with not by the courts but by non-judicial authorities.

Moreover, retroactive legislation has been passed since that allows sums of up to 10,000 euro to be imported undeclared.

This completely clears Aslamazian, her lawyer Viktor Parshutkin told Interfax.

However, the Criminal Investigation Committee "demands that Aslamazian return from abroad and intends to send the case to court only after she has returned to Russia," he said.

In January 2007, Educated Media became the full legal successor of Internews, a nonprofit organization that was registered in 1997 and ran various humanitarian and educational projects via electronic media.