Extremists sentenced for racial murder
There was barely room to move in the court when the sentences were read out. Dozens of journalists joined the family members of the slain teenager and of the accused.
Activist Timur Kacharava was stabbed to death in November 2005 by a group of teenagers, while his friend was hospitalised in critical condition. They both were members of a pacifist movement and took part in a number of anti-fascist rallies.
The seven people who appeared in the dock on Tuesday were all self-confessed fascists.
Aleksandr Shabalin was found guilty of murder. He will spend 12 years in a high-security prison. Six other defendants were found guilty of inciting racial hatred and received sentences of up to three years.
Surprisingly, the reaction of the fascist gang was joy.
“When the sentence was read out, the mother of one of the accused was filming it on her mobile phone. They were very cheerful and were posing. They also drew swastikas on the bench. They didn't say a single word of sympathy or condolence to the family of the deceased,” says Olga Tseitlina, lawyer of the family of the killed.
Two of the guilty say they intend to appeal the verdict.
One further person, who is believed to be the orchestrator of the attack, is still at large and wanted.
Police forces in St. Petersburg have been put on high alert, fearing possible public disturbances in the wake of the verdict.
Meanwhile, Timur Kacharava's murder isn't an isolated incident. Over the past several years, Russia has seen a number of racially motivated attacks.
Last year, an Armenian teenager was stabbed to death in a Moscow metro station.
A year before that, a 19-year-old Peruvian student was attacked by a group of young men and died from knife wounds. A court sentenced the murderer to 16 years in prison.
In 2006, an Indian medical student was killed just five months before his graduation.
And last April, a Senegalese student was shot dead with a weapon which had a swastika on it.