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1 Oct, 2008 07:11

Skinhead leaders plead guilty to 20 murders

Leaders of a Moscow skinhead gang charged with 20 racially motivated murders have pleaded guilty at a court hearing on Wednesday.

According to the investigation, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky formed a criminal group of nine who killed 20 people and injured 12 more in the period between August 2006 and October 2007.

They were arrested in 2007 after an Armenian businessman was killed in Moscow.

Most of the group were underage when the attacks were carried out.

Ryno is currently charged with 27 attacks and Skachevsky with 29.

Artur Ryno initially admitted killing more than 30 people, but later withdrew his confession.

The investigation says the accused had been targeting people with non-Slavic appearance, mostly from Central Asia and the Caucasus, and viciously beating them. They filmed the attacks on a mobile phone and then posted the video on the Internet.

In September Moscow city court sentenced a 13-strong gang of skinheads to prison terms of between three and ten years for murdering two people and attacking ten.