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Nationalist leader Limonov paroled
MOSCOW. June 18 (Interfax) - Leader of the National-Bolshevik Party and controversial writer Eduard Limonov will be released on parole.

The Engels City Court in Saratov region made this decision on Wednesday. Engels houses a penitentiary where Limonov has spent about 1.5 months.

The court granted Limonov a parole as the writer has already served over half of his 4-year sentence, mostly before trial, and did not have recorded violations, the Saratov regional judicial department told Interfax.

The court has also taken into account positive references and petitions for his release from State Duma members.

The petition for releasing Limonov was signed by parliamentarians Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Alexei Mitrofanov, Vasily Shandybin, Viktor Alksnis, and others. The parole plea was also supported by Limonov's Moscow publishers, Alexander Ivanov of Ad Marginem and Ilya Kormiltsev of UltraKultura.

The judicial department told Interfax that the parties have ten days to contest the court ruling. If the ruling is not appealed, it will take effect in 10 days, after which Limonov will be freed.

Chief of the Engels penitentiary Yevgeny Zorin also told Interfax that Limonov could be released no earlier than in 10 days.

"We are obliged to follow all formalities, including to wait for today's court ruling to take effect," Zorin said.

Zorin said the penitentiary administration did not object to Limonov's parole. "He has not have either negative or positive records in the past month," he said. However, he noted that a prosecution official was against granting a parole to the writer.

The Saratov Regional Court on April 15 sentenced Limonov to 4 years in prison for the illegal purchase, storage, and transportation of firearms and ammunition.

Meanwhile, the court did not find Limonov and founder of the newspaper Limonka Sergei Aksyonov guilty of an attempt to overthrow the constitutional system. Justice Vladimir Matrosov declared that Limonov's and Aksyonov's guilt had not been proven, as they did not publicly call for an overthrow, and all printed matter speculating on this theme was distributed covertly.

The court also found Limonov and Aksyonov not guilty of attempting to set up an illegal armed formation and preparing for terrorism.

Five of Limonov's followers received various sentences for the illegal purchase, storage and transportation of weapons. In particular, Aksyonov was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail, Vladimir Pentelyuk and Dmitri Karyagin to 2.5 years, Nina Silina to 2 years and 4 months, and Oleg Laletin to 2 years and 3 months.

In addition, the court handed down a determination addressed to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Federal Security Service (FSB), pointing to violations commited by the investigative team.

Limonov was arrested on weapons charges in the Russian internal republic of Altai on April 7, 2001. He was first delivered to the pretrial detention center in Lefortovo, and in June 2002 was transferred to Saratov, where the trial began on July 8, 2002.

The writer Eduard Savenko (Limonov), who was known for his dissident opinions in Soviet times, was stripped of Soviet citizenship in 1974. Limonov returned to Russia in 1991 and was granted citizenship in 1992.

Limonov, 60, is the author of over 20 books characterized by their cynical style. The best known is the 1979 novel, 'Eto Ya, Edichka!' ('It's me, Eddie!).

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