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Kasparov's lawsuit against pro-Kremlin youth group rejected

MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court rejected on Thursday a lawsuit filed by Russian opposition leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov in February against a pro-government youth movement.

Kasparov claimed that the pro-Kremlin Nashi movement had allegedly distributed leaflets after the December 2 parliamentary polls describing him as a U.S. national who wanted to ransack Russia's national wealth in the interests of the United States.

The chess grandmaster said he wanted to defend his honor, dignity, as well as business reputation, and sought compensation of 30 million rubles ($1.2 million) in damages.

The opposition leader said he intended to give the compensation money to victims in the 2002 Dubrovka theater siege and the Beslan school hostage crisis.

A lawyer for Kasparov, Yury Kostanov, said his client would appeal against the ruling. Meanwhile, a defense lawyer for Nashi, Sergei Shorin, claimed that although the youth group "shared the contents of the leaflets," it could not be held responsible for the subject matter as "there is no proof that the pamphlet was produced by Nashi."

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of Putin, who he accuses of turning Russia into a "police state," was arrested in central Moscow in late November while leading a pre-election coalition rally for The Other Russia party. Kasparov was held in custody for five days, on charges of violating laws on public meetings.

The chess grandmaster said in December last year he would pull out of the presidential race as the authorities had made it impossible for him to run.

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