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Russians Sentenced for Web Prank

May 15, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) _ Two college students were sentenced Monday for sending false warnings about a missile attack on Europe via the Internet as a prank, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The students sent messages saying officers of a Russian army missile unit were threatening to attack western Europe unless their salaries were paid, the report said.

Living conditions in the military are grim with soldiers often going months without pay.

After receiving questions from authorities in Austria and the United States, Russian police located the two students at a vocational college in Kaluga, 125 miles south of Moscow, the report said. The report did not ame the students or give other details.

The Kaluga district court sentenced the students to one year of hard labor in a penal colony, with the sentence on the younger student suspended because he was under age, the report said.

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