Moscow Court Find Neo-Nazis Guilty of 20 Murders

(December 4, 2008)

Jury at Moscow court finds seven skinheads guilty of 20 killings, 12 assaults

MOSCOW. Dec 2 (Interfax) - A jury at the Moscow City Court has issued a guilty verdict upon seven members of a skinhead gang led by Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky.

The defendants were charged with 20 killings and 12 attempted killings, Moscow City Court spokesperson Anna Usachyova told Interfax.

At the same time, the jury acquitted two other people figuring in the case.

"The jury's verdict holds that Ryno, Skachevsky, Roman Kuzin, Vitaly Nikitin, Alexander Anikin, Ivan Kitaikin, and Denis Lavrinenko are guilty of killings and attempted killings. The jury acquitted Svetlana Avvakumova and Nikolai Dagayev on the grounds that the event of the crime was not proven," Usachyova said.

The jury members' votes regarding Avvakumova and Dagayev were split, and the law treats this situation in favor of the defendants, she said.

The jury ruled that Ryno and Skachevsky did not deserve lenience, unlike the other five convicted defendants.

The Moscow City Court will hold debates on legal implications of the verdict on December 4.

It was reported earlier that the prosecution asked the jury to find the members of a skinhead gang led by Ryno and Skachevsky "guilty on all counts and not deserving lenience." The defense team asked the jury to find the defendants not guilty.

The jury members were confronted with more than 280 questions. The investigation considered Ryno and Skachevsky, both aged 17, to be the organizers of a criminal gang. The other defendants included Kuzin, Nikitin and Kitaikin, each aged 18, Anikin and Lavrinenkov, both 17, Avvakumova, 22, and Dagayev, 15,.

All the defendants were indicted for killing two or more people by an organized group motivated by feelings of ethnic and racial hatred, attempted killings, the instigation of hatred or hostility, and disorderly conduct. In addition, several people from the gang were charged with robberies by previous collusion.

The Moscow City Court recently convicted members of another youth group of 13, of whom 12 were minors, to three to ten years in prison for murder and fuelling ethnic hatred.

"Both groups followed a common pattern in committing the crimes," the prosecution authorities said.

"Influenced by ideas on exclusivity of people of Russian ethnicity and inferiority of non-Slavic individuals circulated by illegal youth organizations, the defendants formed organized groups to kill people coming from former Soviet republics located in the Asian and Caucasus regions," a spokesman for the prosecution authorities said.

"From August 2006 to October 2007, the members of the first criminal group killed 20 people and inflicted wounds of varying degrees on 12 others. The second group killed two people, including international chess sports master Sergei Nikolayev from Yakutia, and nine victims suffered bodily injuries," he said.

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