ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, -- A major leader of ultranationalist groups in St. Petersburg and another member have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in a series of murders of foreigners, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
A court said while reading its verdict on June 14 that Aleksei Voevodin and a second ultranationalist, Dmitry Borovikov, created a nationalist extremist group in 2003. Borovikov was killed by police in 2004 while resisting arrest.
The court later ruled that Voevodin and ultranationalist gang member Artyom Prokhorenko had been given life sentences.
Fourteen co-defendants had earlier been tried in the same case. Last month the jury found 12 of them guilty of committing a series of murders. The victims included citizens of Senegal, Uzbekistan, and North Korea, a 9-year-old from Tajikistan, as well as Russian scientist and human rights advocate Nikolai Girenko.
Most of those killed had been kicked and stabbed to death. Ten of the gang members found guilty of the murders were given sentences ranging up to 18 years.
The high profile trial had lasted for a total of seven years.
Dozens of Voevodin's supporters raised their right arms in the Nazi salute and chanted "Glory to Russia!" after the verdict was pronounced, RFE/RL reported.
Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of the Moscow-based information and analytical center SOVA, told RFE/RL that the verdict is very important as it will serve as a warning to other ultranationalists.
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