PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, June 3 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators in Russia’s Far East have launched a criminal case against three men suspected of the homophobic killing of an airport manager, officials said on Monday.
Three unnamed residents of the Kamchatka Region were arrested for allegedly murdering the local deputy director of Ozyornaya airport, whose body was found in his burned-out car on Thursday.
According to investigators, the three suspects attacked a local man from their village on the night of May 29 for his “non-traditional sexual orientation” and inflicted fatal injuries on him by stabbing him and kicking him. The 39-year-old victim died of his wounds at the scene.
“In order to cover-up the crime, the suspects put his body inside his car, poured gasoline over it and set on fire,” the regional branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement on Monday.
Officials reported on Friday holding a 21-year-old employee of a fisheries firm in connection with the killing, but did not at that time mention a possible motive for the crime.
The incident is not the first suspected hate crime against gay men in recent weeks in Russia. Last month, investigators in the southern city of Volgograd opened a probe into the death of a 23-year-old man, whose body was covered with various injuries, including to his genitalia.
Officials said then that they suspected it was a homophobic crime, in a rare attribution by Russian law enforcement authorities of homophobia as a motive.