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Russian court jails nine over racist killing

Skinhead - file photo
Russian skinhead groups have targeted people of foreign appearance

Nine members of a Russian white supremacist group have been jailed for up to 22 years each in connection with the killing of a man from Cameroon.

Three of the group, known as Simbirsk White Power, were convicted of the racially motivated murder of Etizok Ndobe Ernest in the city of Ulyanovsk.

Investigators said his throat was cut and he was stabbed repeatedly on his way home from work as a DJ in 2008.

It is the latest in a series of cases involving racist attacks in Russia.

"When investigators identified the people who carried out this cruel murder, it turned out that they were all members of an extremist organisation called Simbirsk White Power," Ulyanovsk investigators said in a statement.

Simbirsk is the original name of Ulyanovsk, about 900km (560 miles) east of Moscow.

Three members of the group were found guilty of murder for reasons of ethnic hatred, investigators said.

The other defendants, who included one woman, were convicted on various charges including the organisation of an extremist group, attempted murder, robbery and hooliganism.

The nine received jail terms ranging from two to 22 years.

Attacks filmed

Prosecutors said earlier that the group had attacked 10 non-Slavic people in 2008, which they filmed on mobile phones and posted on the internet.

Correspondents say the latest case comes as Russian authorities appear to be making a concerted effort to combat hate crime.

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Last month a court in Moscow sentenced nine members of a neo-Nazi skinhead gang to prison terms of up to 23 years.

Independent groups monitoring the issue say the number of those killed in race attacks last year dropped by more than a quarter to just over 70 - a figure they say is still unacceptably high.

They attribute this fall to the police and justice system taking hate crimes more seriously and targeting some of the largest far-right groups.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin recently called for tougher laws against racially motivated attacks.

He also urged a deeper sense of community and a recognition that Russia is a multi-cultural country.

Hate crimes increased sharply in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Skinhead groups began targeting people of foreign appearance such as Central Asians, residents of the Caucasus or Africans.



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