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    Court rules prosecutors' refusal to exonerate last czar illegal

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    A Moscow court ruled Tuesday that the refusal of the Prosecutor General's Office to exonerate Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II and his family is illegal.

    MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court ruled Tuesday that the refusal of the Prosecutor General's Office to exonerate Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II and his family is illegal.

    Nicholas II and his immediate family were executed near the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in 1918, less than a year after the Bolshevik revolution.

    Grand Duchess Maria Romanov, who heads the Russian Imperial House in exile, claims the killing was a state-sponsored execution rather than murder, and wants a court of justice to clear the monarch of all political charges allegedly leveled against him by the Bolsheviks.

    The Tverskoi Court rejected her suit in May, qualifying the tsar's killing as premeditated murder, but the Moscow City Court ordered new hearings following an appeal.

    "The hearings have been put off until November 14 as no reply has yet come in from the Yekaterinburg archives to a defense attorney's inquiry," said lawyer German Lukyanov, who is representing Maria Romanov in court. "The documents [requested] will provide additional evidence for the case."

    The duchess and her lawyer have substantiated their claim with documents from the archives of the Federal Security Service, including a July 1998 ruling closing a criminal investigation into the killing of Nicholas II, as well as a regional government resolution they say is an official death sentence on the tsar.

    The remains of Nicholas II were buried in 1998 with honors in the former imperial capital, St. Petersburg. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him two years later.

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