Court in Russia grants amnesty to squirrel killer

AP News
Posted: Jul 22, 2015 9:30 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — A teenager convicted of animal cruelty for killing a squirrel in a city park in St. Petersburg has been spared any prison time because of a widespread amnesty in honor of the Allied victory in World War II.

Yelisei Vladimirov, who claimed self-defense, was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison but was granted amnesty on the spot, prosecutors said.

He thus became one of about 150,000 inmates or defendants who have been released from prison or granted amnesty in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. The amnesty announced in May covers first-time offenders as well as those convicted of petty crimes with prison sentences of up to five years.

Vladimirov, the 19-year-old son of a judge in northern Russia, shot the squirrel in August 2014 in a city park on Yelagin island.

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The defendant and his friends say they were feeding the animal when it bit Vladimirov and was about to attack him. Witnesses testified otherwise, saying that the teenager shouted "Beast!" and shot the squirrel.

The case caused uproar in St. Petersburg where squirrels are not known to attack people.