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The findings came in a report by an 18-member panel of independent experts who called on the Kremlin to implement a number of legal reforms. They include narrowing the definitions of terrorism and extremism in laws intended to prevent them, the decriminalization of defamation cases against journalists and granting appeal rights to people forced into psychiatric hospitals by the courts.

The report said Russia was responsible for reported attacks on civilians by armed groups in South Ossetia in the aftermath of the August 2008 war with Georgia, and called for Moscow to investigate those abuses.

It also said that journalists were subject to politically motivated trials and convictions, discouraging critical media reporting, and called on the government to take action against what the panel called an increasing number of hate crimes and racially motivated attacks.

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