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Apr 7, 10:07 AM EDT

Russian parliament allows legal action against lawmaker


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MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian parliament has voted to allow legal action against an opposition lawmaker who was the sole deputy last year to vote against the annexation of Crimea.

The State Duma on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to strip Ilya Ponomarev of immunity against prosecution, paving the way for legal proceedings against him that could cost him his seat.

The Duma was responding to a prosecutors' request which claimed that Ponomarev, who is currently in the United States, is suspected of embezzlement related to his work for a state-funded technological foundation.

Ponomarev, one of the leaders behind the 2011-2012 anti-government protests, says the motion is a politically motivated attempt to kick him out of parliament and prevent his return from abroad.

He will lose his seat only if the court finds him guilty.

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