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Court finds 10 nationalists guilty of arsons, explosions

April 12, 2012, 13:38 UTC+3

The prosecutor classifies the gang's acts as terrorism, while the defense argued that they were acts of hooliganism

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MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Moscow City Court on Thursday found members of the nationalist group Autonomous Combat Terrorist Organization /ABTO/ guilty of carrying out a series of explosions and arsons in the Moscow region, including at a police station.

The substantive part of the verdict will classify the nationalists' acts under Criminal Code articles and announce punishment for each defendant. Nine young persons are in the prison's dock. Earlier, a prosecutor for the state demanded that they be punished by four-year suspended sentences to 16 years in jail. He asked to sentence the gang leader to 15 years in prison.

The prosecutor classifies the gang's acts as terrorism, while the defense argued that they were acts of hooliganism.

The trial began last December. The case was reviewed by three professional judges and the hearings were open to the press.

The defendants - Ivan Astashin, Bogdan Golonkov, Alexander Bokarev, Grigory Lebedev, Kirill Krassavchikov, Andrei Markhai, Maxim Ivanov, Yaroslav Rudny, Igor Zaitsev and Ksena Povazhnaya. They are all charged with more than ten offenses, including terrorism and calls for extremist actions.

Gang leader Astashin is accused of four episodes of terrorism, illegal production and keeping of explosives, inciting ethnic hate and calls for extremism.

The city department of the Investigative Committee said he had been detained before the explosion at a Moscow thermal power plant.

The investigator said in 2009, the defendants torched a kiosk, threw Molotov cocktails at a house in which visitors lived, and torched a police office and a cafe. In 2010, they torched a police patrol car in Moscow's southwestern district, a police office near the Tyoply Stan subway station, and a kiosk, and committed a series of similar crimes.

The gang began its activities in 2009, and joined the Movement Against Illegal Immigration /DPNI/. The latter was banned as an extremist organization in April 2011. Later, the gang dissociated from the DPNI. The gang's members were youngsters aged 16 to 20, mostly students. The organization comprised several cells operating in various districts of Moscow.


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