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Russia’s highest court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of U.S. student John Tobin, who served half of a one-year prison term for marijuana possession before being freed and returning home last month. Tobin has denied the charges and pleaded innocent at his trial in the southern city of Voronezh. On Wednesday, Tobin’s lawyer Maxim Bayev appealed the verdict to the supreme court, asking it to throw out the conviction for lack of evidence. But the court ruled the evidence against Tobin was solid and the conviction must stand, court spokesman Nikolai Gastello said. Russian officials arrested Tobin, a 24-year-old Fulbright scholar, for possession on marijuana in January in Voronezh, where he was studying at a university. The case gained wide attention after the Federal Security Service, the main successor to the KGB, said he was believed to be training to be a spy. Tobin’s case strained U.S.-Russian relations and was raised by President Bush in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer. Russian authorities granted Tobin’s parole Aug. 3 after he had served six months. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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