Police Accuse Five Suspects of Killing Man They Thought Was a Skinhead

(December 11, 2008)

Police in St. Petersburg, Russia detained five natives of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkariya in connection with the murder of an ethnic Russian former Olympic champion, according to a December 9, 2008 article in the local supplement to the national daily "Kommersant." According to police, on January 1, 2005 the five suspects were celebrating the New Year in their dormitory when a Chinese student ran into their room and told them that neo-Nazis were hanging out near the dorm. St. Petersburg is notorious for its violent neo-Nazi groups, who regularly beat or even kill minorities. The suspects reportedly ran outside intending to attack the neo-Nazis, but instead found Dmitry Nelyubin, a 1988 Olympic champion in bicycling, walking with his wife. One of the suspects reportedly stabbed him to death, and then fled to scene, making efforts to destroy evidence by burning their clothing and smashing up the murder weapon. Police nevertheless identified them as suspects, but as a result of intimidation, dozens of witnesses allegedly threw off the investigation by testifying that the men were inside the dorm when the killing happened. A security guard then allegedly falsified his log in order to cover up his negligence of duty. Eventually, the police figured this out and charged the five suspects with murder. It is not mentioned in the report if the false witnesses will face any charges.

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