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Russian blogger critical of authorities jailed for six years – lawyer

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A Russian blogger critical of the authorities was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday, his lawyer said, in an extortion case critics say is politically-motivated.

Alexander Valov, whose blog had been critical of the authorities in the southern Russian city of Sochi, was charged earlier this year with extorting money from federal lawmaker Yuri Napso.

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Valov was accused of extorting 300,000 rubles ($4,330) from Napso, allegedly in exchange for deleting blog posts about a private swimming pool allegedly built by the lawmaker on a municipal beach in the Black Sea resort city. Valov has denied any wrongdoing.

Valov’s lawyer, Alexander Popkov, told Reuters the defense would appeal the verdict, which he said was “cruel”.

“We knew that we wouldn’t get an honest and fair verdict,” Popkov said. “There was a very profound political subtext throughout the case.”

Napso’s office and the Sochi court that delivered the verdict could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny wrote on Twitter that Valov “is being locked up purely because of politics” and that his sentence looked harsh.

“Six years – that’s what you get for a murder,” Navalny wrote.

Advocacy groups including Reporters Without Borders had called for Valov’s release during his pre-trial detention.

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Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Gareth Jones

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump blindsided after Macron ‘covertly’ invites Iran Foreign Minister Zarif to G7 summit for talks: report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, President Donald Trump and his staff were "blindsided" when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to the G7 summit, reportedly as part of a "covert invitation" from French President Emmanuel Macron.

The report states that Zarif engaged in conversation with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Dria, without the knowledge of anyone from the White House and that Trump himself was not aware of the meeting until a reporter asked him about it.

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MSNBC panel rips media for giving Trump rejects a second act: ‘There are still children in cages as we speak’

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An MSNBC panel on Sunday mocked the ABC reality show Dancing with the Stars for casting former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

MSNBC host Joy Reid wondered why so many former Trump administration officials are being hired for "second acts."

"You've got Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars," guest Jason Johnson said. "I didn't know you could dance without a spine."

"It's all a hustle," he continued. "I don't believe any of them. I don't believe Scaramucci. I don't believe Omarosa. I don't believe any of them. They are just the kind of foul, racist supporting people that they were with this administration."

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Lindsey Graham ripped for telling Americans to ‘accept the pain’ from Trump’s trade war: ‘Tell that to the farmers’

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Appearing  with CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation" on Sunday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told viewers they will start to see increases in products coming from China -- despite Donald Trump saying the Chinese will abord the costs of his tariffs -- and that they need to suck it up and "accept the pain."

As Graham explained it, "The Democrats for years have been claiming that China should be stood up to. Now Trump is, and we just got to accept the pain that comes with standing up to China. How do you get China to change without creating some pain on them and us? I don’t know.”

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