ST. PETERSBURG, January 12 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – Russian historian Sokolov, who had been found guilty of killing his postgraduate student Anastasia Yeshchenko and arms trafficking and sentenced to 12.5 years in high-security prison, challenged the lawfulness of his punishment for possession of a sawn-off gun and ammunition rounds, his defense lawyer Sergey Lukyanov informed RAPSI on Tuesday.

A part of the prison term, 1.5 years, the historian got for the possession of firearms. Sokolov’s lawyers believe that the fact of possession alone would not be punishable with a real prison term if not the murder; therefore, they ask for a mitigation of the punishment, according to Lukyanov.

As established by a district court in St. Petersburg, Sokolov murdered his female student in the course of a domestic quarrel by shooting her four times in the head from a saw-off gun; after that he dismembered her body and tried to bury the remains in a local river; he was caught in the act.

The historian pleaded guilty.

Sokolov is a historian and ideologist of reconstruction of Napoleonic period battles. He has been conferred the Legion of Honor, the French national award instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte.