Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Moscow racist murder gang jailed

A woman walks past graffiti reading "We love you!" with a swastika mocking migrants
Russia has been plagued by racist attacks in recent years

A group of racist skinheads who carried out 18 brutal murders in Russia's capital Moscow have been sentenced to jail terms of between six and 20 years.

The gang of seven targeted non-Slavic migrants in the city between August 2006 and October 2007.

Many of the attackers were minors at the time. Besides killing 18 people, they also tried to murder another 12, the court heard.

The group posted video of some of their crimes on the internet.

The heaviest jail term was handed to Roman Kuzin, who received 20 years in jail.

Artur Ryno and his gang are the extreme, dangerous face of generation who have grown up in an ideological vacuum

The two alleged ringleaders of the group, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, were given 10-year sentences in a penal colony.

Their sentences were the longest they could have received, as they were minors at the time.

Four other members of the group received jail sentences of between six and 12 years.

Plagued by attacks


The group posted video of some of their crimes on the internet

The prosecution argued that the defendants had formed an organised group with the aim of murdering migrants from Asian and Caucasian regions of the former Soviet Union.

In other words, they targeted people who did not look white, or Slavic, the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow said.

Even in a city frequently the scene of racist violence, this gang's crimes stood out, our correspondent said.

Russia has been plagued by a series of racially motivated attacks, some of them fatal, in recent years.

Between January and October this year 113 people were killed in racist attacks in Russia and 340 were wounded, according to the Moscow Human Rights Bureau.

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