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Peruvian Student Slain In South-Central Russia

10 October 2005 -- A student from Peru has died in the south-central Russian city of Voronezh after being attacked by a gang of youths, sparking an investigation into whether the victim was targeted on the basis of his nationality.

A regional spokesman for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Enrique Angeles Hurtado, an 18-year-old student at the city's architecture academy, died after being severely beaten by as many as 15 assailants.

Two other students, an 18-year-old Peruvian and a 38-year-old Spaniard, also suffered serious injuries in the attack.

The regional prosecutor's office has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

"This case is under our supervision, and the investigating team reports to us every day on the work they have done," said regional chief prosecutor Aleksandr Ponomaryov. "Of course, all possible leads are being investigated, including murder out of racial or ethnic hatred."

At least seven foreigners have been killed during the past six years in Voronezh, where many foreign students attend university.

Most recently, a student from Guinea-Bissau was murdered in 2004. The regional court ruled his assailants had acted out of racial hatred.