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Russian Faces 4 Years for Attack on Kremlin Website

MOSCOW - A 30-year-old Russian man who is suspected of organizing an hour-long hack attack on the Kremlin website in support of the political opposition faces up to four years in prison, said the FSB security service which investigated the incident.

The man from the industrial city of Krasnoyarsk in eastern Siberia launched a cyber attack on the site of Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 9, 2012, said a regional investigator with the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the feared KGB agency.

"The website was under attack for one hour," the investigator, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The young man identified only by his last name, Nikitin, performed the attack using instructions from hacker group Anonymous on blocking websites, the investigator said.

The attack on the website was organized in support of an opposition protest in Moscow calling for the annulment of the results of March presidential elections, the FSB investigator added.

The presidential poll that saw Putin return to the Kremlin for a third term in May last year despite unprecedented protests against his 13-year rule was marred by widespread fraud, observers have said.

Nikitin said he is not guilty of the attack and faces up to four years in prison, said the investigator.

The criminal probe into the attack has been completed and the case will soon be handed over to a court.

Critics accuse Putin of unleashing a tough crackdown on civil society after his Kremlin comeback that has seen scores of political activists ending up in prison or fleeing abroad.

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