Murderer who sparked race riots gets 20 yrs

A Moscow court has found North Caucasus native guilty of murdering a football fan in a street brawl and jailed him for 20 years. Thousands strong riots followed the shooting of Egor Sviridov in central Moscow in December 2010.

Cherkesov was found guilty of all charges – murder, attempted murder, hooliganism and assault. The defendant pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, arguing that he was fired the weapon in self-defense and without intent to kill.

His co-defendants, Akay Akayev, Artur Arcibiev, Nariman Ismailov, Khasan Akayev and Ramzan Utarbieyev, also from Russia’s southern republics, will spend five years behind bars after being found guilty of hooliganism and assault.

Russian prosecutors had asked for a 23-year prison sentence for Aslan Cherkesov and seven to eight years for the five other defendants.

Cherkesov’s defense is to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court over the sentence, which they say it too severe.

Investigators found that Cherkesov and his companions provoked the fight by attacking Sviridov and fellow Spartak fans.

Police arrested Cherkesov and his five co-defendants in the wake of the fight, released Cherkesov’s companions just a few hours later.

This sparked violent protests by Spartak Moscow fans and nationalist extremists who marched in their thousands to Manezh Square near the Kremlin, giving Nazi salutes and throwing flares at police in what was dubbed a race riot.

The crime rocked Russia and led Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to pay personal tribute to Sviridov and visit his grave.

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