Index

DATE=6/20/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / MEDIA TYCOON (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263575 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A Moscow court has refused to consider a request by lawyers for media tycoon Vladimir Gusinksy to have his jailing last week declared illegal. V-O-A Correspondent Eve Conant in Moscow also reports the lower house of Russia's parliament is set to debate whether to call on President Vladimir Putin to fire Russia's prosecutor-general. TEXT: A Moscow court has thrown out a request by Vladimir Gusinsky's lawyers to examine whether his recent arrest and detention in a Moscow prison was illegal. Mr. Gusinksy is the owner of Russia's only independent nationwide television network, as well as of radio stations and liberal newspapers that have been critical of the Putin government and the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. His lawyers say he has been charged with massive fraud in a privatization deal involving at least ten-million dollars of state funds. But his arrest last week immediately sparked fears of a crackdown on freedom of speech and the independent media in Russia. Mr. Gusinsky's lawyer, Genri Reznik, told reporters gathered outside the courthouse that he would appeal the case. He argued the arrest was illegal for several reasons, including the prosecutors' awareness that Mr. Gusinsky held a state medal that provides holders amnesty from arrest or imprisonment. /// REZNIK ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// Lawyer Genri Reznik says there is no doubt that the arrest was illegal. It is the actions of the prosecutors and the investigators that should be regarded as a crime, he says, "they should swap places with Mr. Gusinsky." Lawmakers in Russia's lower house of parliament are scheduled to debate on Friday whether to call on President Vladimir Putin to fire Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov because of the Gusinsky case. President Putin has said the arrest seemed "excessive." But Mr. Putin said the prosecutor's office is politically independent of the Kremlin and that he could not interfere in the case. (Signed) NEB/EC/JWH 20-Jun-2000 09:56 AM EDT (20-Jun-2000 1356 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .