23:02 GMT +320 September 2017

    Court upholds tsar exoneration, returns case to prosecutors

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    MOSCOW, May 11 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's highest court upheld a district court's decision to send a case on the exoneration of Russia's last tsar back to the Prosecutor General's Office in an appeal hearing Friday.

    Both the prosecutors and the plaintiff, a descendant of the Romanov family, appealed against the November ruling by the Tverskoi Court, but the Moscow City Court rejected the appeal.

    Nicholas II and his immediate family were executed by the Bolsheviks near Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, in 1918. Grand Duchess Maria Romanov, who heads the Russian Imperial House in exile, claims the killings were a state-sponsored execution rather than murder, and wants a court of justice to clear the monarch of all political charges leveled against him by the Bolshevik government.

    The Tverskoi Court rejected Maria Romanov's exoneration claims and ruled that her suit be returned to the Prosecutor General's Office, which had originally turned it down, citing lack of evidence to prove the tsar's killing was an act of political repression.

    The court, which took over the case, also qualified the killing as premeditated murder, and said a decision to exonerate Nicholas II should be made in criminal, not civil proceedings.

    The duchess and her lawyer disputed both decisions, claiming that the documents they had provided from Federal Security Service archives point unambiguously to the political nature of the crime. Specifically, the files contain a July 1998 ruling closing a criminal investigation into the killing of Nicholas II, as well as a regional government resolution that the plaintiff says is an official death sentence on the tsar, executed by firing squad together with his wife and five children.

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

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