A Russian appeals court has upheld a one-year forced labor sentence for a journalist convicted of libeling two regional politicians.

The district court in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk Tuesday confirmed the sentence of German Galkin, publisher of the daily Vecherny Chelyabinsk and the weekly Rabochaya Gazeta.

The watchdog group Reporters Without Borders has condemned the ruling and called on Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two meet in Yetkaterinburg on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr. Galkin was convicted August 15 of libel against two Chelyabinsk officials, first vice governor Andrei Kosilov and vice governor Konstantin Bochkaryov, in articles published last year. Mr. Galkin has denied writing the articles, which criticized the officials for allegedly mishandling public funds.