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Russian Lawmaker’s Widow Convicted

November 16, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Russian court on Thursday convicted the widow of a prominent Russian lawmaker of shooting him to death after a quarrel in 1998, and sentenced her to eight years in prison.

Tamara Rokhlin was arrested in 1998 and charged with killing her husband, retired Gen. Lev Rokhlin. Mrs. Rokhlin initially confessed, but later said her husband’s security guards killed him because of his fierce criticism of then-President Boris Yeltsin.

In the town of Naro-Fominsk outside Moscow, Judge Lyudmila Zhilina found Mrs. Rokhlin guilty after a monthlong trial. Prosecutors had asked that she be given 10 years in prison.

Mrs. Rokhlin, dressed in black, left the courtroom proclaiming her innocence, and denied that quarrels with her husband led to the crime.

``In our life we had rainbows and thunderstorms, but I loved him for his good sides and his shortcomings,″ she said in footage shown on Russian television stations. ``I’m not guilty, people, I’m not guilty,″ she shouted.

Lev Rokhlin, a career soldier, won wide praise for his performance at the beginning of the 1994-96 war in Chechnya. He later rejected a medal for valor in combat in the extremely unpopular war, saying he didn’t want to be decorated for a war that involved attacks on fellow Russian citizens.

He was elected to parliament’s lower house in 1995, and gained popularity by exposing military corruption and calling for an opposition political movement in the ranks.

He was shot with his own pistol while he was asleep in his country house outside Moscow.

Mrs. Rokhlin’s relatives and some opposition leaders speculated that she made her initial confession after she received threats against her children.

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