Teens arested over Moscow racist murder: official

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Two boys aged just 14 and 15 have been arrested on suspecion of the apparently racist murder of a Kyrgyz citizen in Moscow at the weekend, Russian investigators said Thursday.

The Kyrgyz man was stabbed to death on Sunday, just a day after some 5,000 ultra-nationalists joined football fans in a racism-tinged riot in central Moscow that raised inter-ethnic tensions in the Russian capital.

"Three teenagers have been identified who are being investigated over their involvement in the crime," the investigative committee of prosecutors said in a statement.

"A 14-year-old teenager has been arrested as a suspect," it said.

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev later confirmed at a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev that a 14-year-old had been arrested as well as a 15-year-old, the Interfax news agency reported.

"This is just a nightmare," the president was quoted as saying, adding that the issue would be discussed at separate talks.

One of the organisers of the murder, whose name was given as Ilya Kubrakov, has also been arrested. His age was not disclosed but officials said that all those arrested were in their teens.

The involvement of teenage gangs in racist murders has repeatedly shocked post-Soviet Russia in the last years but it is rare that a boy so young is involved.

Saturday's rally was initially called to protest the police handling of the killing of a Spartak Moscow football fan by a man from Russia's North Caucasus region but rapidly degenerated into a racist riot.

The three youths arrested are part of a Spartak Moscow fan group and linked to a movement of far-right extremists, a security source told Interfax.

The 14-year-old suspect has already confessed to the crime, the source said. He is a school pupil but also a die-hard Spartak fan who goes by the nickname of "Scout".

Another of the suspected teens is a pupil at a Moscow school known by the name of "Grizzly" within the Moscow racist scene, while the third is a university student and Spartak fan known as "Hector".

© 2010 AFP

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