MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court on Monday dropped a criminal case against migrant worker Bakhrom Khurramov, accused of attacking a 12-year-old boy, due to the parties’ reconciliation, court officials told the RAPSI legal news agency. Khurramov was freed in the courtroom.
The court ruled that Khurramov hit the boy, Artyom Khoteyev, due to a feeling of dislike for him. However, later Khurramov apologized to the boy and reimbursed for the harm he inflicted, and the parties achieved reconciliation.
Thirty-five-year-old street sweeper Khurramov was arrested in southwestern Moscow in early January on suspicion of attacking Khoteyev earlier in the month with a broken shovel handle and leaving the boy with a concussion and broken jaw after Khoteyev and several friends allegedly threw a snowball at Khurramov.
After Khurramov’s arrest, however, residents of the neighborhood in which he works penned a joint letter in support of the street sweeper, claiming the children provoked the conflict. In the letter, carried by various Russian media, residents also praised Khurramov's character and work ethic.
“We are simply convinced that [Khurramov] was provoked,” a neighbor told the Vesti TV network in early January.
The Russian Interior Ministry reported in January that local police asked a Moscow court to free the Uzbek migrant - an unusual turn in a case that has challenged the common notions of Russian disdain toward migrant workers from poor former Soviet republics.
Police also said in January they were investigating a video uncovered online that appears to show Khoteyev physically attacking another boy. Khoteyev’s classmate told Vesti the 12-year-old reguarly exhibits crude and aggressive behavior. Police asked that Khurramov be released on condition he does not flee while the investigation continues.
Millions of migrant workers from the former Soviet Union and elsewhere flood into Russia each year to earn a living. The increasing number of migrants, many of them dark-skinned Muslims, has fueled fears among working-class Russians of being squeezed out of the job market and has resulted in popular xenophobia.