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#2 - JRL 7023
Dossier of Stalin's Henchman Presented
January 17, 2003

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian prosecutors on Friday presented a criminal dossier on feared Soviet secret police chief Lavrenty Beria, including a list of hundreds of women he had allegedly stalked and raped.

The Russian Military Prosecutor's office presented Beria's 47-volume criminal case, which ended with death sentence and a quick execution in 1953. The dossier will be opened to the public only after 25 years, Russian television stations reported.

They said that prosecutors had presented the Beria files to disprove media reports that they had been stolen. Prosecutors allowed the cameramen to film some documents, which included a list of women that was confiscated from his aide. Soviet-era investigators accused him of stalking and raping women.

RTR state television said the handwritten list contained hundreds of names. The station briefly showed several fragments of the list that included women's names and telephone numbers.

Valery Kondratov, a senior prosecutor in charge of reviewing Soviet-era repression cases, said that Beria's files made no reference to an alleged arsenal of deadly poisons developed in a laboratory he personally ran.

``There was no information about the special laboratory, let alone recipes of some secret poisons,'' Kondratov said in televised remarks.

Some Russian and foreign historians have said that Beria had the laboratory develop an array of poisons to use against his foes at home and abroad. Some theorized that Beria might have poisoned Soviet dictator Josef Stalin himself.

Beria was appointed head of the NKVD secret police in 1938 and playeda a major role in the terror of the Stalin era. He oversaw purges in which tens of thousands of people were executed and ruled the forced labor camps where millions were imprisoned.

Beria was one of Stalin's closest confidantes and was entrusted with key tasks such as overseeing the development of the Soviet atomic bomb.

Beria was arrested in a power struggle months after Stalin's March 1953 death, convicted of treason and terrorism and shot. During interrogation after his arrest, Beria testified to personally having brutally beaten prisoners.

In 2000, Russia's Supreme Court rejected an appeal for Beria's legal exoneration from his relatives, who claimed that his sentence at a closed trial and execution were illegal.

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