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    Moscow court jails 7 youths to 6-20 yrs for race-hate murders

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    MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court on Monday sentenced seven young men, convicted of 20 race-hate murders and 12 other attacks, to between 6 to 20 years in prison.

    The gang killed their victims and assaulted 12 others in a series of attacks between August 2006 and October 2007 targeted at foreigners and non-Slavic migrants. The suspects reportedly filmed some of the attacks and posted them on the Internet.

    Two 18-year-old ringleaders, Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky, will each spend 10 years in a medium-security prison. The court also ruled they pay 4 million rubles ($144,000) to two victims as part of a compensation claim.

    The court handed out the maximum possible sentences allowable by law to the young men, as they were under 18 at the time of the attacks.

    Group member Roman Kuzin, 20, received the longest prison term, 20 years. And Vitaly Nikitin, who was taken into custody after the sentences were read out, was handed 12 years behind bars.

    The others were sentenced from six to nine years in jail. The jury said all the suspects, except the ringleaders, deserved leniency.

    The other two members of the group, who were earlier found not guilty by the jury, were acquitted.

    The defense lawyers and the prosecution said they were satisfied with the ruling.

    "We are satisfied with the verdict," Artyom Timushev, acting for Ryno, said, but added he would appeal the compensation demand.

    Russia has seen a wave of racially motivated crimes since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Routine attacks by gangs of youths on foreigners and people with non-Slavic features are a regular occurrence in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as the city of Voronezh, which hosts many foreign university students.

    An 18-year-old student from Kazakhstan was stabbed to death in southwest Moscow on Sunday in an apparent racially-motivated attack. The killing follows the shocking murder and decapitation in a wood near Moscow of a 20-year-old migrant worker from Tajikistan early this month.

    Last month, the Moscow City Court sentenced 13 members of another race-hate group, accused of two murders and 10 assaults, to between three and 10 years in prison. Prosecutors said both groups had largely used the same methods in their attacks.

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