Report: 4 Arrested for Executions

A senior Interior Ministry official said four suspects had been detained in connection with a horrific video showing the execution of two men that was circulated on the Internet last year.

But Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin dismissed the statement as "incorrect."

The video, which appeared on ultranationalist web sites under the title "The Execution of a Tajik and a Dagestani," showed two dark-skinned men kneeling, bound and gagged in front of a Nazi flag. The two men say, "Russian national-socialists have arrested us," before masked men cut one man's head off and shoot the other at point-blank range.

Boris Miroshnikov, head of the Interior Ministry's hi-tech crimes department, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview published Wednesday that four suspects had been detained. He did not elaborate.

Attempts to clarify Miroshnikov's comments were unsuccessful Wednesday. Irina Zubareva, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry's hi-tech crimes department, referred all inquiries to the ministry's anti-organized crime and counterterrorism department. A spokesman there declined to comment.

Markin said no one had been detained or charged in the case. "The preliminary investigation has been extended until Dec. 6, 2008," he said in a statement. "Steps are being taken to identify the individuals who committed this crime."

In November, a student in the southern republic of Adygeya was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison for inciting ethnic hatred and posting the three-minute video on his LiveJournal blog.

The student, Viktor Milkov, admitted to posting the video but maintained that he received it as an e-mail attachment from a stranger, authorities said

In June, a Dagestani family identified the man beheaded with a large knife in the video as their relative, Shamil Udamanov, who they said arrived in Moscow last summer to look for a job.