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10 Apr, 2008 12:55

Murderers jailed for brutal sex attacks

Eight Russian men have been jailed, some for life, after a court found them guilty of raping and murdering at least 14 young women. Many of the victims have not been found and the youngest was just 13 years old.

The leader of the sex-ring who has killed his own daughter has been sentenced to life imprisonment in the town of Nizhny Tagil in Russia’s Urals. The group ran a licensed catering firm, but instead of pizza they delivered sex-slaves.

Psychiatric tests have shown all the gang members are mentally competent and now the seven men will serve prison terms varying from ten to twenty-four years.

The prosecution admits that not all the gang's crimes have been proven, because they took place over three years ago between 2003 and 2005, but the prosecutor Dmitry Safin said he was satisfied with the court's decision.

But it is seen as too mild a punishment by the relatives of the kidnapped teenage girls who were raped and murdered.

Olga Yushkova, the mother of one of the killed girls, told that her daughter just went out for a walk with another girl and met some boys.

“The boys beat and raped the girls all night, and then sold them to these monsters who have children the same age. The girls refused to become prostitutes, and they killed them,”. she said.

Police discovered a mass grave in the woods not far form the village of Leviha near Nizhny Tagil after it has been found by a dog. The grave contained the bodies of at least fourteen young women, but the remains were substantially decomposed which made it difficult to identify them.

Meanwhile, experts say only the perpetrators were caught – the masterminds are still at large.

Russia has been increasingly waking up to the problem of trafficking women after a barrage of criticism at home and abroad. It recently introduced prison terms for those involved in organised prostitution.