Two soldiers in Siberia given prison sentences for hazing attack

NOVOSIBIRSK, February 27 (RIA Novosti, Maxim Koshmarchuk) - A military court in Siberia has handed down prison sentences to two servicemen convicted of bulling a conscript who later committed suicide, a court spokesman said Monday.

The two soldiers were sentenced to three-and-a-half and four years in prison respectively after the court established that they had systematically attacked and bullied a private who, as a result, hung himself on May 31, 2005.

A month before the tragedy, another conscript committed suicide in the same unit, but the investigation failed to establish the identity of the offenders.

According to official Russian statistics, 16 servicemen died in incidents involving bullying during 2005, but experts contend that the actual number is much higher, as the official figures previously failed to take into account suicides which occurred after hazing attacks.

The military is trying to take tougher measures against crimes in the army following a wave of recent hazing cases that caused a public outcry. In one notorious case, a young soldier had to have his legs and genitals amputated after being tortured by colleagues for several hours in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, 1,800 miles east of Moscow.

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