Russian neo-Nazis sentenced to life in prison for racist murders
A court in St. Petersburg, Russia has sent two members of a neo-Nazi group behind bars for life. The group was responsible for at least seven murders. Gang leader Alexej Vojevodin and gang member Arťom Prochorenko have been sentenced to life in prison. Another 10 members have been given sentences of between two and 18 years, the Slovak Press Agency SITA reports.
The gang's victims include a Senegalese student shot in front of a night club in St. Petersburg, a man of North Korean origin who was stabbed to death on the street, and the anthropologist and ethnographer Nikolaj Girenko, who was shot to death in front of his home in 2004. Mr Girenko, a well-known expert, was killed because he frequently testified as an expert witness in trials of neo-Nazi perpetrators.
Vojevodin's gang was formed in 2003. Most of its members were arrested by 2006. Dmitrij Borovikov, who led the gang together with Vojevodin, was shot dead by police officers during the course of his arrest in 2006.
Neo-Nazis regularly attack persons from abroad or from the northern Caucasus on the streets of Russian cities, primarily in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Human rights activists and journalists reporting on neo-Nazi activities are also frequent targets for attack. According to the Russian NGO SOVA, during 2010 alone a total of 37 people died at the hands of neo-Nazis throughout Russia, while another 382 suffered injuries.