12 Minors Jailed for Hate Crimes

MTTwo of the minors charged with racially motivated crimes gesturing Monday after being convicted in a Moscow court.
The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced 12 minors to prison sentences ranging from three to nine years for a series of racially motivated crimes last year, including the murder of a Sakha native that was filmed with a cell phone.

Judge Vladimir Usov convicted one adult, Ivan Kalinichenko, along with the juveniles on two counts of murder and several other counts of attempted murder committed between August and October last year.

Kalinichenko, 19, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Among the crimes the teenagers were convicted of is the murder of Sakha native and tournament chess player Sergei Nikolayev, 46, who was stabbed to death by drunken football fans on Oct. 20, following a victory by the Spartak Moscow football club.

Footage of the attack was filmed with a cell phone camera and posted on the Internet, prosecutors said. Prosecutors had asked that the defendants be handed prison sentences ranging from five to 22 years.

The minors will serve their sentences in juvenile facilities. They have 10 days to appeal the verdicts.

During their final statements on Sept. 12, several of the defendants admitted their guilt and apologized to the relatives of the victims, court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said.

But while listening to the verdict from their glass courtroom cage Monday, the teenagers -- who were handcuffed together -- appeared jovial, chuckling and even congratulating one another upon hearing their respective prison sentences.

As they were being led out of the courtroom following the verdict, several of them shouted, "glory to Russia" and, "we will build a new paradise," while raising their arms in Nazi salutes.

Kalininchenko's lawyer, Roza Saribzhanova, said her client had "serious mental problems" and was incapable of understanding the crimes he committed.

Authorities and human rights groups have noted a sharp spike in racist attacks throughout the country this year.

Jury selection in another high-profile case involving racists murders is scheduled for Sept. 30, Usachyova said.

In that case, nine suspects, aged 15 to 22, stand accused of 20 premeditated murders and 12 attempted murders. The two purported leaders of the group, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, were arrested in April 2007 on suspicion of killing Armenian businessman Karen Abramyan.

Abramyan, 46, was stabbed 20 times on the evening of April 16 in southwest Moscow and died in the hospital.