Three men guilty of racially motivated attack on celebrity

Three men have been found guilty of using racial motives in attacking a prominent politician and baritone Zaur Tutov, the Culture Minister of Russia's southern Kabardino-Balkarian republic.

Tutov was beaten outside a children's cultural centre in eastern Moscow in April.

He'd gone there to pick up his daughter from an evening dance class, when he became involved in a dispute with a group of young men chanting nationalist slogans.

The minister tried to calm them down but the argument turned into a fight. It lasted several minutes, then the attackers fled the scene.

Tutov suffered a fractured cheek bone and concussion – his wife took him to hospital where he underwent surgery.

The singer complained about slow police response to the crime – he said they only came half an hour after he called for help.

The main defendant has been asking for forgiveness several times during the hearings. The two other accused say they're only guilty of failing to prevent the fight, but didn't take part in it.

“The complainant Zaur Tutov will not appeal against the judgement. Initially the position of my client was that the law of the Russian Federation bans the beating of any of its citizens, regardless of his nationality. We would be satisfied even if the convicts had been freed from the court. They've spent enough time in custody. They are not hopeless nationalists, but hooligans who've been brought up with nationalist thoughts. This is widespread in Russia. The less time will they spend in jail, the better people they will be,” Tutov's lawyer Ruslan Koblev said.