Latvian World War II Veteran Wins Appeal to Rights Court

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The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of a Russian World War II partisan contesting a Latvian conviction for war crimes committed under the Nazi occupation, the court said on Thursday.

Vasiliy Kononov, an 85-year-old Latvian who was granted Russian citizenship in 2000, was convicted in April 2004 of murdering Latvian civilians during the war and was sentenced to a year and eight months in jail.

The case outraged many Russians, who saw him as a brave partisan fighting the Nazi armies that devastated the Soviet Union. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Kononov occasional notes, such as one to wish him a happy new year.

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