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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Russian killed by booby-trapped sign
A man has been killed in the western Russian enclave of Kaliningrad while trying to remove a booby-trapped sign with obscene writing.


We strongly advise against trying to remove such posters, the more so, if there is the slightest suspicion it may be a trap mine

Russian Interior Ministry
Kaliningrad's emergency ministry said 50-year-old Yury Antipenko died instantly when he triggered an explosive device left outside his apartment block in the town of Baltiysk. A woman accompanying him was injured.

Three recent similar incidents involving signs with anti-Semitic wording in different areas of the country have injured those who tried to remove them, but this was the first fatality.

However, Russian police say there is no evidence of an anti-Semitic motive in this case, as the sign reportedly bore insults aimed at a local resident of Ukrainian origin.

The incident came as the Russian upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, passed a law designed to combat political extremism.

The law, which has been criticised by human rights group as being too vague and potentially harmful to non-extremist groups, is still to be signed by President Vladimir Putin and will not come into effect for several months.

Police advice

The Russian Interior Ministry issued a warning urging residents not to remove any provocative or suspicious posters.

Jewish
Unease is growing among the Jewish community
"We strongly advise against trying to remove such posters, the more so, if there is the slightest suspicion it may be a booby trap," a ministry official told the Itar-Tass news agency.

"The police must be called at once. Before bomb disposal experts arrive the area around the suspicious find must be sealed off and passers-by - specifically teenagers - kept away."

On Monday, two men who tried to remove an anti-Semitic sign from the roadside in Siberia were injured when it exploded.

The attack was an almost exact copy of an earlier crime in May outside Moscow, in which a woman suffered severe burns and eye injuries when she tried to remove a sign which read "Death to Jews".

A bomb-like device found on an anti-Semitic sign in Vladivostok last Thursday proved to be a fake.

The Anti-Defamation League in Moscow has called for a quick response, saying far more needed to be done to educate Russian law-enforcement officials on how to deal with hate crimes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to fight organisations that target racial and ethnic minorities.

See also:

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