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Suspects in Lawmaker’s Death Confined

June 27, 2003

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Moscow court ruled Friday to keep a provincial politician suspected in the killing of a liberal lawmaker behind bars as an investigation continues.

The Basmanny district court approved the arrest of Mikhail Kodanyov and his assistant, Alexander Vinnik, the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported, citing Kodanyov’s lawyers.

Both men were detained Thursday in the city of Kudymkar, about 750 miles east of Moscow, and are accused of organizing the April murder of Sergei Yushenkov, a liberal member of parliament.

Kodanyov’s lawyer Yuri Khavronin said his client insists he is innocent, according to Interfax.

Yushenkov, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot in front of his home on April 17, hours after he announced that his fledgling political party, Liberal Russia, would take part in December’s parliamentary elections.

Liberal Russia had split before Yushenkov’s death, and Kodanyov later took the helm of a rival faction connected to self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky. Berezovsky provided initial funding for Liberal Russia, but was kicked out by Yushenkov and his allies after he made overtures to the Communists.

Yushenkov, 52, was the second leader of Liberal Russia to die in less than a year; another co-chairman, Vladimir Golovlyov, was shot and killed in August.

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