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    COURT TO START HEARING CASE OF TWO RUSSIANS DETAINED IN QATAR

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    MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - On Sunday, the court is to start hearing the case of two Russians detained in Qatar. The court session will open at 10 a.m. local time (11 a.m. Moscow time), a spokesperson for the Yegorov, Puginsky, Afanasyev and Partners law firm told RIA Novosti. The firm's lawyers represent the two Russians' interests in court along with a group of foreign defense lawyers.

    Three Russian citizens, all on an official mission in Qatar, were arrested by Qatar special service officers in the small hours of February 19, 2004. They were charged with complicity in assassination of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, one of the leaders of Chechen terrorists.

    One of the detainees, Alexander Fetisov, first secretary of the Russian Embassy in Qatar, was soon released. He returned to Russia on March 24.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly pointed to the Russian citizens' innocence and demanded that they should be immediately released.

    On February 26, the two Russians were indicted for premeditated murder.

    On April 11, the court held a pre-trial session where both Russian citizens rejected the charges brought against them and pleaded not guilty.

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