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Moscow court orders pre-trial detention for Quran-burning video suspect

January 16, 2014, 20:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 16. /ITAR-TASS/. A court in Moscow ruled on Thursday to place Alexander Sokolov, one of the suspects behind an Internet video on the burning of Quran in the Russian capital, in custody until March 9.

Police detained the 23-year-old resident of Central Russia’s Tver Region on Tuesday on charges of hooliganism. Investigators also established that Sokolov had a previous record of convictions on charges of theft and robbery.

Addressing the Cheryomyshkinsky court on Thursday, Sokolov admitted his guilt, agreed with the court’s decision to put him in custody, but added that he was not the only one taking part in the burning of Quran’s copy.

“There were many participants, I was caught and the rest are on the loose. Two are considered as witnesses in the case, although they took more active part than I did,” said Sokolov, who is facing up to seven years in prison if found guilty.

Investigators established that the incident took place on New Year’s eve, while the video appeared on the Internet last week.

The video showed a group of unidentified young people setting pages of the Russian translation of Quran on fire and uttering profanities. The same video further showed a man of non-Slavic appearance, his face bruised, on a Moscow metro train being forced by people behind the camera to repeat after them “I renounce Allah.”

A week ago, Anatoly Yakunin, the head of the Moscow police, ordered to set up a special group charged with the task to identify and detain the organizers of the incident “as soon as possible.”

The opening title to the video, which was uploaded on YouTube, said the burning of the Quran copy came after the latest series of terrorist attacks in Russia.

Two terrorist bomb blasts hit Russia’s southern city of Volgograd on two consecutive days in late December killing 34 and injuring dozens of others.

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