Russian Youths Get up to 19 Years in Jail for Racist Murders

MosNews/May 11, 2005

A Russian court has passed sentences ranging from eight to 19 years in jail for six young men who committed three racist murders, local media reported.

The youths — three of whom were minors at the time they carried out a series of attacks that led to the deaths of their victims — were also each ordered to pay damages of around $8,000 to their victims’ families.

“All members of the group were incriminated for crimes motivated by racial hatred and animosity,” prosecutors were quoted as saying. “People who did not look Slavic or who were not Russian citizens were deliberately chosen as victims of the crimes.”

In March an investigator for the United Nations Human Rights Commission said racist attacks were on the rise in Russia and that a growing “skinhead movement” had been responsible for many incidents.

Several racist killings — particularly the murders of two Tajik girls aged 5 and 9 — have provoked widespread revulsion and brought calls for the government to crack down.

President Vladimir Putin has also called for greater racial tolerance and accused extremists of trying to encourage hatred to hamper the Kremlin’s drive against terrorism.

Attacks blamed on Chechen separatists have been accompanied by a rise in brutality against people clearly identified as non-Russians, much of it directed at darker-skinned Muslims from southern Russia and nearby ex-Soviet states.

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