Court fines Gorbachev

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The Independent Online
Moscow - Mikhail Gorbachev came under attack yesterday in Russia's highest court, with a former Politburo colleague accusing him of destroying the Communist Party and judges fining him for refusing to testify, writes Andrew Higgins.

The fine was for a token sum of 100 roubles (less than 20p) but adds to the former Soviet leader's humiliation in his battle with the Constitutional Court. The court is investigating the misdeeds of the party to judge the legality of President Boris Yeltsin's decision to ban it. Having failed to get Mr Gorbachev to testify last week, the court yesterday summoned him again, demanding that he appear on Wednesday.

But Mr Gorbachev shows no sign of co-operating. 'I will not say anything even if I am brought to the court in handcuffs,' he said, insisting that the hearings were a politically-motivated charade.