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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

‘Black Hawks’ Get Hefty Prison Terms

Livejournal.comVideo footage of Guseinov, center, in the metro on the day of the attack.

A Moscow court convicted six Caucasus youths of beating two white teens in a racially motivated attack Thursday and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from four to seven years.

Several dozen nationalists waiting outside the Dorogomilovsky District Court erupted in loud cheers when they heard the verdict.

Racial tensions have been simmering during the first case, labeled by prosecutors as reverse discrimination. One of the defendants was shot dead during the trial, and a white nationalist group has claimed responsibility.

The six defendants, dubbed the Black Hawks by the media and human rights groups, were found guilty of assaulting Pavel Novitsky, 16, and Fyodor Markov, 19, in a racially motivated attack in a metro train car on May 6, 2008. Witnesses said the attackers shouted “Allahu akbar!” (Allah is great!) and “Kill the Russians!” during the assault.

The defendants told the court earlier that they had participated in the attack, which one of them videotaped on his cell phone. But they denied that it was racially motivated and said it had occurred spontaneously.

Several of the defendants were under 18 when the attack took place, but were sentenced as adults. Judge Vera Ptitsyna sentenced Dilgam Guseinov to seven years in prison, Grant Arutyunov to six years, and Chingiz Arifullin, Shakhin Khudiyev and Rashid Sadykhov to four years. Rashad Mamedov, who is under 18, will serve five years in a juvenile correctional center.

The seventh defendant, Rasul Khalilov, an 18-year-old Azeri student, was killed in September as he left his apartment building for a court session. Most of the defendants were allowed to stay at home during the investigation and subsequent trial on condition that they didn’t leave Moscow. No one has been arrested in the slaying.

The group that claimed responsibility, the Battle Organization of Russian Nationalists, had said it did not expect a fair verdict in the trial and had acted to punish the “Caucasus gang” that “sold narcotics in Moscow’s universities and attacked Russian youth.”

Thursday’s session was attended by representatives of the radical Movement Against Illegal Immigration, or DPNI, and its former leader, Alexander Belov. Belov entered the courtroom dressed in all black and an orange- and black-striped tie. “They all will be imprisoned today,” he whispered as the judge entered the courtroom.

The judge read the verdict in monotone voice for two hours, and the defendants’ parents wept when she finished.

Only one defense lawyer attended, and she vowed to appeal. “The sentences are too harsh. A major part of what the judge read is not true,” said Tatyana Prilipko, lawyer for Sadykhov.